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.

Baby steps with Instagram

In the early days of Twitter, doubters complained that it was just a place where people shared what they ate for lunch. Instagram, too, has that kind of reputation. But businesses are looking more closely at this photo-/video-sharing app as a way to build brand awareness and increase website traffic. You can see why. It’s […]

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My 7 steps to ‘spin straw into gold’

You may have heard me talk about “spinning straw into gold.” That’s my shorthand for turning reams of raw interview notes into a concise, readable story. Often it also means boiling 1,500 words down to 500. (“Pulling a rabbit out of a hat” is doing so to meet a tight deadline.) Inspiration is helpful, but […]

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New do’s and don’ts for using Storify

(This post updates one originally written in 2013.) Storify is a handy free service that “makes the web tell a story.” Storify helps you collect ­– or curate, if you’d rather use the current buzzword – public tweets, pictures, video and other content from around the web, dragging and dropping them into the Storify framework […]

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PWAC chat summary: How to ask for referrals

Join us Wednesday for the next #PWACchat for freelance writers? pic.twitter.com/t6YVjqr5Fr — PWAC Toronto Chapter (@PWACToronto) July 5, 2015 When do you ask a client for a referral or a testimonial? We writers are often shy to ask, but it’s an important way of building our businesses. The Toronto chapter of Professional Writers Association of […]

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Does removing the date make you a cheater?

Have you ever noticed this? You’re digging around the web, collecting advice or thoughts on a particular topic. You find interesting content, but when you try to check how current it is, you can’t find the date it was published. Sometimes, you only find a clue to the post’s birth when you scroll down to […]

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7 ways to improve your non-profit annual report

Non-profit organizations use annual reports to let donors know where their money goes, and ask for more support. Yet a 2013 study* shows only 26 per cent of the Canadians surveyed think charities do a good job of explaining how donations are used. So, how does a charity do a good job of explaining, in […]

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Push For Your Tush results are in

After almost 14 years of walking a dog three times a day, walking 5K is a piece of cake. So earlier this month I laced up my walking shoes to do the 5K Push For Your Tush in Burlington, Ontario, raising money for Colon Cancer Canada (tagline: We’re behind your behind). This was my second […]

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Don’t wait for perfection; start, already

Is aiming for perfection holding you back? Sure, getting rid of typos and fixing glaring errors is important. But if you’re waiting to launch your website or start tweeting or record your first podcast until all conditions are perfect and you’ve tied everything up in a shiny bow, it’s just not gonna happen. At least, […]

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Spending hours to save pennies on insurance

For years, I stuck with the same car insurance company. I thought being a valued customer – they assured me I was! – would mean saving money. My insurance costs should go down for all kinds of reasons: The Ontario government introduced legislation that is supposed to reduce insurance costs by 15%. I’ve been a […]

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Forgive me for suspecting lawyers are paid by the word

Wills are distasteful to begin with. You don’t want to think about someone dying, let alone squabble over who gets the investments and the heirloom silver, the stamp collection and the stacks of National Geographic. (I’m joking; we’re parceling out the old magazines every week in the recycling bin. Seriously, Dad, what were you doing […]

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