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.

Words of the year are no ‘fake news’

If you’re a word nerd, like me, you probably look forward to the release in early January of the “words of the year” from the previous year. They’re out! In past years, the words chosen were often catchy new portmanteaux – words formed by blending two or more distinct forms (smoke + fog = smog). […]

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‘Fake news’ among words we’d like to banish

The wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan are at it again. Among the words they’re trying to banish for “Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness” are fake news, gig economy, impactful and unpack. As an unnamed spokesperson said when releasing the 43rd annual list, “We’ve drilled down and unpacked tons of pre-owned words and phrases […]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries in 2017

As another year comes to a close, I’m looking back at the most-viewed posts on my blog in 2017. Did you miss any of them? As a freelance writer, I often talk about the various aspects of the indie life that I think others may be interested in: Reflecting on marking 26 years in business […]

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Your “About” page is the place to get personal

What are your passions? How long have you been in business and why did you start? If you have a business or personal website, sharing more about what makes you tick helps your visitors feel they know you, leading them to like and trust you. That’s why your “About” page is so important. If you’re […]

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Don’t let jargon get in the way of trust

You can usually spot jargon at less than 10 paces, but it’s fun to have the option of The De-Jargonizer. Plug in a piece of writing, and this handy tool will highlight the jargony words you might want to replace. A recent report about Toys ’R’ Us executives giving themselves millions of dollars in bonuses […]

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Watch out for these email fails

Some companies/people are still missing the boat on email. I have lots of evidence from my own in-box: The “From” field: “Unknown sender” (a Black Friday sale that doesn’t inspire confidence) “No reply @” (I guess you don’t want to hear from me?) Subject lines: “No subject” (Really? That’s what’s going to encourage me to […]

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Shopping for writers and readers? Here are 12 ideas

Some of my neighbours have had Christmas lights up for weeks. U.S. Thanksgiving is done like turkey dinner, and we’re hurtling towards the Festive Season. So, time for my third annual roundup of gift ideas for writers, readers and word-and-punctuation nerds. 1. “I’m a writer” tee Cotton tee that says, “I’m a writer. To save […]

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Help readers understand when you explain

Noise is a big issue around airports. A jet taking off can produce an average of 100 to 120 decibels. That’s as noisy as it is in the front row of a rock concert. If, like airports, your business makes noise that’s affecting your neighbours, you want to show that you’re aware of the issue. […]

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Is long the best length for a blog post?

Long? Really long? Or short? You’ll find all kinds of advice on the internet about how long you should make your blog post. This is top of mind these days with the results of Orbit Media’s 2017 survey of 1,000+ bloggers, which show: The average blog post is 1,142 words. This is 41% more words […]

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What’s the best length for my e-newsletter?

“How much content is too much content in a newsletter?” wondered reader Danielle Wintrip (of Wintrip Communications) after my post with quotes about e-newsletters. Good question, which I’m going to rephrase as “What’s the best length for my e-newsletter?” The quick answer is that “too much” varies, but you’re best off keeping your e-newsletter short. […]

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