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.

Does removing the date make you a cheater?

Have you ever noticed this? You’re digging around the web, collecting advice or thoughts on a particular topic. You find interesting content, but when you try to check how current it is, you can’t find the date it was published. Sometimes, you only find a clue to the post’s birth when you scroll down to […]

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7 ways to improve your non-profit annual report

Non-profit organizations use annual reports to let donors know where their money goes, and ask for more support. Yet a 2013 study* shows only 26 per cent of the Canadians surveyed think charities do a good job of explaining how donations are used. So, how does a charity do a good job of explaining, in […]

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Push For Your Tush results are in

After almost 14 years of walking a dog three times a day, walking 5K is a piece of cake. So earlier this month I laced up my walking shoes to do the 5K Push For Your Tush in Burlington, Ontario, raising money for Colon Cancer Canada (tagline: We’re behind your behind). This was my second […]

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Don’t wait for perfection; start, already

Is aiming for perfection holding you back? Sure, getting rid of typos and fixing glaring errors is important. But if you’re waiting to launch your website or start tweeting or record your first podcast until all conditions are perfect and you’ve tied everything up in a shiny bow, it’s just not gonna happen. At least, […]

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Spending hours to save pennies on insurance

For years, I stuck with the same car insurance company. I thought being a valued customer – they assured me I was! – would mean saving money. My insurance costs should go down for all kinds of reasons: The Ontario government introduced legislation that is supposed to reduce insurance costs by 15%. I’ve been a […]

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Forgive me for suspecting lawyers are paid by the word

Wills are distasteful to begin with. You don’t want to think about someone dying, let alone squabble over who gets the investments and the heirloom silver, the stamp collection and the stacks of National Geographic. (I’m joking; we’re parceling out the old magazines every week in the recycling bin. Seriously, Dad, what were you doing […]

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Get an ‘aha’ moment with analogy

Vivid images in your writing are the fastest way to give your readers that “aha!” moment of understanding. Common tools are analogies like metaphors and similes, which compare this new thing to that quite different thing. A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar (“The river snakes its way…”). A simile compares two […]

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In a slump? Here’s how to dig out

The independent life has its ups and downs, but in 24 years, I have never hit a slump like the one I’m in now. It’s quiet. TOO quiet. Knowing that this, too, shall pass, as it always does, I’ve been doing all the right things. This includes — you knew this was coming — an […]

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Capture attention and interest with your elevator speech

Networking is an important part of finding customers. Is the way you introduce yourself helping land those customers? When it comes to getting people’s attention, “You have about as much time as it takes to start your car,” speaker Kevin Smith (aka The Story Architect) told members of IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators at the Perfect […]

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Niche reads and odd titles in quirky contest

The clever folks at The Bookseller, a British trade magazine, have a way with words and a good sense of humour. Exhibit A: The Oddest Book Title contest. I’ve written before about this funny contest, conceived in 1978 by The Diagram Group’s Bruce Robertson as a way to avoid boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair. […]

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