The Red Jacket Diaries blog

Sue Horner is a freelance writer in Oakville, Ontario, who blogs about writing, newsletters, communications and running an independent business in The Red Jacket Diaries blog.

9 steps to readable writing

If you produce material that you hope will be read and understood, you can use readability tests to get an idea of how you’re doing. While researching road ecology – the study of the often deadly interaction of roads and nature – I ran across a guide called a “resource for students, citizens, government and […]

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Make the most of a summer slowdown

“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” — Henry James Whether you are a freelancer or work in a corporate office, you may find that business slows in the summertime. People you need to talk to are on vacation. Projects are postponed. […]

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Tech of the future still needs communications support

When technology and big data converge, the results can be revolutionary. Just don’t forget communications. Illustrating that point was one of many stories shared by Julia Oosterman at the “Next Big Thing” session for IABC/Toronto Westend members on June 23. Julia described a woman apparently having a heart attack during a meeting, who later found […]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries so far in 2016

Sometimes, individual months draaaag along (January, I’m looking at you), but suddenly June hurtles past and the year is halfway through. Heading into the July 1st / July 4th long weekend, here’s a half-dozen of my most-viewed blog posts so far this year: ‘How to take the leap to the independent life’ talks about what […]

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Bottom line? Get to the bottom of numbers

How rare is it to be born on February 29, the extra day in a Leap Year? By chance I was travelling on this year’s extra day, and found this explanation by journalist Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Being born on Feb. 29 is rare, sort of. The odds of it happening are […]

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A seasoned writer can save your bacon

My client’s newsletter deadline was already past, she was scrambling to get it finished, and then WHAM. A story she was counting on looked like it had fallen through. This is a case where the person you hire to help you with some writing is more than her ability to write. The story was meant […]

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Storytelling makes the Orlando shooting personal

A mom out dancing with her son was one of the 49 people killed and 53 injured in the latest senseless shooting in the U.S. That could have been me; maybe that could have been you, or your mother, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, friend. It’s almost irrelevant that Brenda McCool‘s son is gay, except that […]

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Cleanses or colons, it’s time to talk about tushes

It breaks my heart when I read that colon cancer is 90% preventable if detected early. The fact that my brother didn’t find his in time, sadly, puts him in an uncomfortably large crowd. According to Colon Cancer Canada, about 24,400 new cases were diagnosed in Canada in 2014, and more than 9,200 Canadians lost […]

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6 ways writers can shine a spotlight on safety

A campaign described in The New York Times last week got me thinking about how writers can contribute to safety awareness. The article reported that roadway deaths are on the rise, and we need to stop calling the reason accidents. Writer Matt Richtel quotes “safety advocates” as saying that using the word accident “trivializes the […]

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Is it time to put a stake in ‘stakeholder’?

The well of BS is endless, as a new Twitter connection observed about business jargon this week. During the exchange, the word stakeholder came up. Fans find it a useful word describing people with an interest in something, an expansion of the original shareholders who had invested money in a business to include employees who […]

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