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.

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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The ‘word casserole’ that is Trump’s speaking style

On the eve of the U.S. election, even those of us up here in Canada are biting our nails. For a bit of diversion, here are some wonderful additions to my collection of expressive writing. In “Trump’s Tower of Babble,” talking about “the accidental brilliance” of Donald Trump’s speaking style, Slate‘s words correspondent Katy Waldman […]

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Boost your small business with this secret weapon

Not everyone realizes the free or low-cost resources and advice available to small businesses at the Halton Region Small Business Centre. Years ago, I visited the centre to do a search on “Get It Write” and register the name for my business. Since then, I’ve been back to renew my registration but haven’t taken advantage […]

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8 ways to speed up your writing

Back in my corporate days, I used to have lots of things to write, but little time to actually do the writing. Meetings, events, planning, organizing and consulting seemed to shrink my writing time to a frustratingly small chunk. One of the reasons I left corporate life was to focus on what I loved most, […]

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7 steps to effective interviews in my October newsletter

An interesting article usually starts with a conversation with a “subject matter expert,” as companies like to call them. Your job is to pull out the human side of the subject – sometimes against the instincts of the person you interview. How do you do it? Check out seven steps to effective interviews in the […]

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You still need a business card! Here are 9 reasons why

I recently met someone whose company had “gone totally digital” — no business cards. She admitted it was often awkward. Yes, a business card may seem unnecessary in a digital world where your contacts are easily found on LinkedIn. A business card may seem old-fashioned. You still need one. Here’s why: 1. You don’t have […]

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How to block the three biggest crimes against plain language

What better day than International Plain Language Day (Oct. 13) to talk about getting rid of jargon and wordiness? Plain Language Day is a way to let people know that plain language doesn’t mean “dumbing down” material or making it too elementary, a worry a client once shared with me. Instead, think of plain language […]

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