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.

Penguins ‘like an audience’ + more expressive writing

You can’t always (ever?) be wildly creative in corporate writing. But you can choose words and phrases that are interesting and colourful to help your readers “see” what you mean. If you want to explain something, make a point or reflect or spark emotion, reach for expressive language that shows rather than tells. Here are […]

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For readability, choose words that communicate

Why say “the earthy scent released when rain hits dry earth” when you could go with “petrichor”? That’s what Merriam-Webster tweeted recently. I love words almost as much as Merriam-Webster, but I would pick the full description. One, it’s wonderfully evocative. You can almost smell that earthy scent, and feel the drops of rain splashing […]

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‘Passive House’ design offers new ways to create affordable housing

At one time, building as many homes or units as possible, as cheaply as possible, seemed to be the way to create affordable housing. Yet as with most things, you get what you pay for. History has shown that it’s better to look at costs over a building’s life cycle rather than just the cost […]

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8 ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions on track

“It’s only mid-January, but chances are pretty good that all those lofty resolutions you made before the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31 have fallen by the wayside,” says executive coach Harrison Monarth in an article for Entrepreneur. What happens? We have good intentions, but the reality isn’t fun. We don’t see results soon enough. We […]

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‘A leap of faith to a dream job’ marks 28 years

I’m celebrating 28 years in business this month – wow! Check out “A leap of faith to a dream job (with a great boss)” for a look at the best things about running my own business, and tips and resources if by chance you’re thinking about taking your own leap. Fireworks photo by Jingda Chen […]

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10 ways to spot a word nerd

Happy New Year, and Happy Word Nerd Day! You know you are a word nerd when… You receive a word-a-day calendar for Christmas (featured today is Occam’s razor, “a scientific or philosophical rule that favors the simplest explanation”). Your Christmas gifts also include several books about words and/or bookstore gift certificates. You’re thrilled when The […]

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Don’t weaponize that toxic misinformation

Toxic. Misinformation. Justice. Weaponize. Do these words capture the mood of your 2018? They do for many people, according to the various dictionaries and online sources that track the topics we search for online. Here are the Words of the Year for 2018 that caught the public’s imagination, showed widespread use or reflected important events, […]

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The top 10 posts in the Red Jacket Diaries in 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, I have one last post for the Red Jacket Diaries: The top 10 most popular posts this year, as revealed by Google Analytics. The posts fall into a range of categories. For example, readers seem to appreciate when I summarize interesting events, such as these ones for IABC/Toronto’s Professional […]

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Life is short (a Christmas tale)

This last month of the year – when many of us are getting ready for family gatherings, yet others lose or are estranged from loved ones – maybe you are reminded, as I am, that life is short. My own preparations for Christmas always bring to mind a tradition that lasted a dozen years. It […]

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7 words more people should look up

The word nerd in me loves the idea of trending words. I love that people want to know the meaning of a word, and take the time to look it up. News events, celebrities, politics and sports often drive a sudden spike in people looking up a specific word. Trends this week include synergy (Russians […]

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