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.

The ultimate list of pricing resources for independents

Money is always a touchy subject, isn’t it? Equal pay for equal work done by men and women is still an issue. Companies don’t seem to want employees sharing salary info. Independents rarely share billing information either, and we’re always wondering if we’re charging too little or too much. And those who hire us aren’t [...]

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Avoid jargon monoxide with the Son Test

Newsletter articles and any other writing — speaking too! — can be improved if you cut out “hollow and meaningless” business language. This gobbledygook is also known as jargon monoxide, a wonderful term I discovered this week in a tweet by Stanford professor Bob Sutton, aka @work_matters. He in turn credits author Polly Labarre for [...]

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10 ways to jump-start your blogging mojo

The last time this happened, in 2012, a Google search pulled up a piddling 31,000 hits. This time, “lost my blogging mojo” brought up more than 700,000 results. I think I am in good company. There are lots of reasons why I seem to have lost my blogging mojo, including the ache and fracture in [...]

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My new mantra is, ‘Why not?’

If you read this blog, you know that it’s been one helluva a year. Recognizing the fragility of life, my new mantra (“a frequently repeated word, phrase, etc.; a slogan,” to quote the Canadian Oxford Dictionary) is “Why not?” When an invitation for something unusual arrives, I will not think of the many reasons — [...]

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Lessons from the Dogfather

Jake was our first dog. He’ll probably be our last dog, too. Long before we got our black Lab, I was already imagining the pain of saying goodbye to a treasured member of the family. Our youngest son was just 10, so I figured by that time, he would be old enough to handle it. [...]

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The expressive language of loss

Any writing can be improved by careful attention to words that convey meaning or emotion, or metaphors and analogies that bring a concept to life. The July issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, shares some wonderful examples of expressive writing I’ve found related to grieving and loss. It’s way less depressing than you might think! Here’s [...]

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Write your own Twitter bio, please!

“Award-winning writer. Organizer. Thinker. Travel fan. Food enthusiast. Evil explorer. Creator. TV specialist. Communicator.” This was a sample Twitter biography helpfully provided by the Twitter Bio Generator. Have you seen it? I ran across this tool recently (sorry, can’t remember where) and ran a couple of samples for fun. After noticing frequent mentions of bacon, [...]

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Remembering my Dad

My father — Grant Cunningham — was always the go-to guy for anything that needed fixing. His day job for more than 30 years was with Bell Canada (which he always called “Mother Bell”), but on the side he fixed stuff. In his prime, he built a deck, installed deck lights, added telephone outlets, hung [...]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries so far in 2014

As we take a breather before Canada Day and launching into the second half of 2014, here’s a look at the most viewed content on the blog so far, as revealed by poking around under the  blog “hood”: Thinking about hanging out your shingle? Start here rounds up my best advice for starting your own [...]

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12 innovations in internal communications (a report from #IABC14)

What forces are shaping internal communications, and what are the best practices that help companies improve their own communications performance? At a session at the recent IABC World Conference in Toronto, speaker Kelly Parsons shared what Melcrum’s research tells the company. She highlighted these current forces that drive innovation: The rising power of employee voice. [...]

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