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.

Resist the initialization of the world (please)

Over the holidays, I was in the store formerly known as Mountain Equipment Co-op. Great name, isn’t it? Without even trying, you can tell it sells outdoor recreation gear and clothing. One of their taglines is “Outside is our place. Canada is our backyard.” Nice. In 2013, the company decided to rebrand itself as “MEC” […]

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Is 2017 the year YOU make the leap?

A woman I met at an event once said, “Omigosh, you have my dream job!” Most days, I think that too. In fact, during a recent conversation about “the best thing that’s ever happened to you,” I realized that launching my business 26 years ago this month is my “best thing.” However, I didn’t wait […]

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New misused words join the list to be banished

Post-truth, on fleek, Dad bod and listicle are among the terms that made the 42nd annual list of words and phrases the wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan want to banish for “Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.” Distressingly, making the list does not, in fact, banish awful jargon and overused terms. The hated […]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries in 2016

As 2016 winds down, here’s a look back at the most-viewed posts in the Red Jacket Diaries over the year. As I like to tell people, words are my business. So no surprise that I often blog about words and writing: Players of Scrabble and Words With Friends are always on the lookout for new […]

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In my Dec. newsletter: Let go of the stocking

All this week, Facebook has been showing me festive photos I’ve posted in previous years. My dog staring longingly at my older son’s Christmas stocking, shown here, is a classic. In the December issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, I share what Jake and letting go of the stocking have to teach us about living in […]

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How to use hashtags (and why bother)

For people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media, hashtags – words or phrases tagged with what used to be called the pound sign (#) — are a handy way to search for topics of interest. Companies use hashtags to try to connect with customers and fans, increase brand recognition and encourage interaction. Where do […]

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12 fun, quirky gifts for writers and readers

Confession: I’ve barely started my Christmas shopping, but I have started collecting ideas for gifts. While making my list and checking it twice, I’ve found some terrific ideas — for Christmas, birthdays or other occasions — for the reader or writer in your life. (Of course, you can always buy books or contribute on their […]

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Seasonal apostrophe abuse is in full swing

With December on the doorstep, we can look forward to lots of apostrophe abuse. You know what I’m talking about. Where a simple S is required to indicate more than one item, an apostrophe is thrown in the mix. Retailers are going to offer personalized items, such as signs like the one shown here that […]

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Is Trump the new poster boy for plain language?

As a Canadian, I won’t comment on the recent U.S. election. But I will say it’s interesting that certain aspects of president-elect Donald Trump’s speaking style could be considered plain language. The November issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, talks about five ways you can aim for plain language in your own speaking and writing. It […]

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3D branding from the inside out

Branding is more than a logo or a tagline; it’s a promise. That’s the basic message of a recent panel discussion on “3D Branding” for IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators (PIC). Here’s a brief look at what each speaker said about the three dimensions of branding, particularly for our group’s small businesses: 1. DEFINE You can’t […]

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