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.

Stop using this phrase like a boss

Not to be like the old guy on the porch yelling, “You kids get off my lawn!” or anything, but here’s another phrase that’s starting to annoy me: “Like a boss.” (I last vented about “hacking your life.”) The Telegraph reports the meaning as “well achieved.” The Urban Dictionary says it’s “The act of doing […]

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Avoid offending with these 7 tips for inclusive language

We’re horrified about it now, but at one time people would say “deaf and dumb” when they meant someone who could not hear or speak. Language evolves, and we’ve come a long way. What was once said without thinking we now recognize as offensive. And just as we need to choose gender-neutral words (“firefighter” rather […]

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PWAC chat summary: All about fees

Consultants and freelancers are always interested in talking about fees. (Are we charging enough? Too much? What’s the going rate?) And so it was a group of us recently took part in a Twitter chat hosted by PWAC, the Professional Writers Association of Canada. As I did with the chat about referrals in July, I […]

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5 lessons in customer service from Ste. Anne’s Spa

My sister-in-law introduced me to the dangerous “robed cult of relaxation” at beautiful Ste. Anne’s Spa in 2012. Getting treatments like hot stone massages or facials, enjoying healthy, delicious meals, staying in comfortable beds in charming cottages, and yes, relaxing in robes — all this completely ruins you for ordinary life in just 24 hours. […]

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Birthdays: How marketers get them right, and wrong

When you were a kid, you probably loved birthdays. Cake and presents and being king or queen for the day made you feel special, didn’t they? These days, when you hand over your birth date to marketers, they have a chance to make you feel special, too. Of course, they’re hoping that warm and fuzzy […]

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Baby steps with Instagram

In the early days of Twitter, doubters complained that it was just a place where people shared what they ate for lunch. Instagram, too, has that kind of reputation. But businesses are looking more closely at this photo-/video-sharing app as a way to build brand awareness and increase website traffic. You can see why. It’s […]

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My 7 steps to ‘spin straw into gold’

You may have heard me talk about “spinning straw into gold.” That’s my shorthand for turning reams of raw interview notes into a concise, readable story. Often it also means boiling 1,500 words down to 500. (“Pulling a rabbit out of a hat” is doing so to meet a tight deadline.) Inspiration is helpful, but […]

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New do’s and don’ts for using Storify

(This post updates one originally written in 2013.) Storify is a handy free service that “makes the web tell a story.” Storify helps you collect ­– or curate, if you’d rather use the current buzzword – public tweets, pictures, video and other content from around the web, dragging and dropping them into the Storify framework […]

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PWAC chat summary: How to ask for referrals

Join us Wednesday for the next #PWACchat for freelance writers? pic.twitter.com/t6YVjqr5Fr — PWAC Toronto Chapter (@PWACToronto) July 5, 2015 When do you ask a client for a referral or a testimonial? We writers are often shy to ask, but it’s an important way of building our businesses. The Toronto chapter of Professional Writers Association of […]

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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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