Outreach Resources and Reference Writing

Inclusive language reference guides

Conscious Style Guide

CSU Diversity/ Inclusivity Style Guide

Radical Copyeditor


See also: Disability language best practices

Resources and Reference Writing

Word lookup tool

Bookmarked Wordnik (

Wordnik shows definitions from multiple sources, so you can see as many different takes on a word’s meaning as possible.

Looks like the thesaurus might be good, will have to try more words 😉

First phrase I looked up was wine-dark which has always stuck with me from the Odyssey, but they didn’t have it 🤷‍♀️


Ideas for playing with language to spark your mind

Bookmarked The furious music of birds at the zoo by Thomas Sharp (The Poetry Of It All)

1. Try not to use the word ‘I’ or variations thereof – ‘me’, ‘mine’ etc. – for a week…
2. For one month commit to including a sentence of beauty in every matter-of-fact, prosaic email you send…
3. For a week de-gender your conversation. Don’t use ‘he’ or ‘she’, only ‘they’.


Meaning through truthfulness in language

Liked Eleven Urgent & Possibly Helpful Things I Have Learned About Writing From Reading Thousands of Manuscripts by Jeannine Ouellette (Writing in the Dark with Jeannine Ouellette)

Our most important job as writers is—I believe—to make language capable of telling the truth. The essayist, activist, and poet Wendell Berry has written about this idea many times. In 2010, he addressed it in a letter to an English teacher and her class, writing: “By taking up the study of writing … you are assuming consciously … a responsibility for our language. What is that responsibility? I think it is to make words mean what they say. It is to keep our language capable of telling the truth. We live in a time when we are surrounded by language that is glib, thoughtless, pointless, or deliberately false.”

We must reject overly easy, overly familiar images and phrases and push ourselves instead for the slight adjustment that can make a world of difference.

This is what it means to defamiliarize language enough to let it hold truth. If the language is so familiar it washes over us, any truth it contains will be lost.

Relationships Resources and Reference

References for pronouncing names correctly



Pronunciation searches.


The “maxim of extravagance”

Bookmarked Generation Amazing!!! How We’re Draining Language of Its Power by Emily McCrary-Ruiz-EsparzaEmily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza (

To attract attention, we submit to the “maxim of extravagance.” You really want people to see the taxidermied pig you just bought, so you tell your friend, “Man, this thing is incredible.”

semantic bleaching: when words are overused and wear out their meaning

Entrepreneurship Relationships Society

Scenius recognizes network effect on creativity

Encountered the concept, coined by Brian Eno, via Steven Johnson: a “scene” where there’s an extraordinary amount of innovation and creative output, like Silicon Valley over the last twenty years and Camp 4 in Yosemite for climbing

“It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.” — Brian Eno

Ugly word, interesting concept.

This is what companies imagine happening at their companies through open office floorplans 🤔🙄

Kevin Kelly adds some elements or characteristics that help foster scenius:

  • Mutual appreciation
  • Rapid exchange of tools and techniques
  • “Success[es are] claimed by the entire scene”
  • A tolerant surrounding community

Can there be virtual scenius? Seems like it applies if that’s where people spend their time.

fascinating research Geoffrey West and others had published on the relationship between innovation and the size of cities. The studies found that cities display a pattern of “superlinear scaling” where creativity is concerned—for instance, a city that is ten times larger than its neighbor isn’t, on average, ten times more innovative; it is actually seventeen times more innovative.

Steven Johnson

Science Writing

Explain complex subjects with common words

Bookmarked The Up-Goer Five Text Editor (


Somehow missed this in 2013! That’s ok, I’m one of today’s lucky ten thousand 😉

It’s fun how much the science community appears to have embraced this challenge — the #upgoer5 hashtag shows that multiple conferences have added sessions devoted to this form of science comms.

See also: Clear writing and plain language

Environment Learning Resources and Reference

Language for sustainability communications

Bookmarked Words that work: effective language in sustainability communications | Radley Yeldar (

In our new report Words that Work: effective language in sustainability communications, a sequel to How to design sustainability that sells, we diagnose what is wrong with how sustainability is written, we explore the origins of the problem, and we provide practical principles for bettering sustainability writing.

Resources and Reference

Disability language best practices

Bookmarked Disability Language Style Guide (

As language, perceptions and social mores change rapidly, it is becoming increasingly difficult for journalists and other communicators to figure out how to refer to people with disabilities. Even the term “disability” is not universally accepted. This style guide, which covers dozens of words and terms commonly used when referring to disability, can help. The guide was developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and was last updated in the summer of 2021.

Seems to be a pretty comprehensive guide to best practices and terminology to use and avoid.