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.

Life is short; get screened

In the end, my big brother had less than a year to live from the first signs that something was going wrong. Gallstones, maybe? No. Colon cancer, which had already spread to his lungs and liver. He was 61. Don moved to California years ago, and being on opposite sides of the continent didn’t support [...]

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New Toronto shopping guide is out

Earlier this year, I mentioned working on a Toronto shopping guide, intended for people coming to this year’s IABC World Conference. With the guide, visitors get the inside scoop from local IABC members on where to grab a gift or specific item close to the conference hotel. Drumroll, please. The guide is done! You can [...]

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IABC session shares tips to help you transition your career

[View the story "Career transition advice session with IABC/Toronto & PIC " on Storify]

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4 quick ways to get your workspace organized

Is your desk and workspace tidy? Some believe a messy desk shows creativity, others that it’s a sign of an equally disheveled mind. At a meeting of my local freelancer group (HPCA) last week, we learned that it’s okay to be a little untidy, but it’s perhaps not as hard as we think to be [...]

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Simple blogging tips (or, don’t do what I did!)

I’ve been doing what I think of as “spelunking” (isn’t that a great word?) — digging around in the caves of this blog. With the wisdom of my seven years of blogging, I can look back and clearly see ways I could have done a better blogging job (and I’m chipping away at fixing them): [...]

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Sending an email newsletter? Here are a dozen ‘don’ts’

If you publish an e-newsletter, remember to keep in mind “what’s in it for my reader?” Doing so will help you avoid the mistakes that often cause readers to unsubscribe or ignore your messages. Many of the items on the following list are the “don’ts” listed in the February issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, which [...]

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The most epic, amazing, all-star, kick-ass blog post ever

Sorry for what may be a misleading headline. This post is not the most epic, amazing, etc. one ever; but do you notice how so many people are casually attaching those words to any blog post? A search for “epic blog posts” or “kick-ass blog posts” or “[insert hyperbole here] blog posts” pulls up millions [...]

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Have some fun with collective nouns

A large flock of crows swooped overhead as I walked the dog one day. Although it was early morning, my brain dimly recalled the official name is a murder of crows, in the obscure naming convention of “collective nouns.” I looked up collective nouns, and discovered that the first ones were typically assigned to groups [...]

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Accessible websites boost SEO, too

Good design and clear, simple writing are two aspects of creating accessible websites that not only meet new Canadian regulations — they’ll also improve your search results. At a meeting of the Halton-Peel Communications Association last week, my colleague Andrea Dubravsky brought the group up to speed on what Ontario’s new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines* [...]

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Give and get the lowdown on shopping in Toronto

You’re in a new city, perhaps for a conference or other business. Most of your time is mapped out, but you want to pick up a souvenir or gifts for family back home. Or maybe you forgot to pack the right shoes, or you spilled coffee on your lap. Where do you go? Like me, [...]

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