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 gifts for writers and readers

We’re barely past Halloween and U.S. Thanksgiving is on the doorstep. My husband just cheerfully informed me that we have less than six weeks until Christmas and someone has already wished me a Merry Christmas. Of course I haven’t started my shopping yet, but I have started to look for ideas. Time, then, for my […]

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Votes being counted…for Word of the Year

Hot on the heels of this month’s midterm elections in the United States (no, I’m not going there) is voting of a different sort. I’m talking about choosing the Word of the Year. The big names like the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster wait until late December, even January, to make their choice. This makes sense, […]

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6 reasons to avoid jargon and corporatespeak

At my local bank this week, signs alerted me that they’re “making changes” to some of their plans and fees. You’d be right to assume that some of those changes are increases. Overdraft protection goes up by $1 per month, and a monthly fee is no longer waived with a minimum balance. Give BMO credit, […]

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Think plain to make complex writing more readable

The Guardian’s Alex Hern forced himself to read all the terms and conditions he encountered in one week. In that time, he collected 146,000 words of legalese in 33 documents. It was, he said, “enough to fill three quarters of Moby Dick, just to explain what I can and can’t do online.” Few of us […]

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Social media is all about being social. Here’s how.

You know you should be on social media, but you’d rather do anything BUT social media. Good news. Sue Walker says listening, engaging with others and being human is more important than cranking out a daily status update. At a recent lunch & learn session, the social media strategist and founder of Soac Media shared […]

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Use plain language to be clear

Let’s be clear. Those “Terms and Conditions” we have to “accept” or “agree to” before using new software, phones and other technology are anything but clear. I blame lawyers, who stuff sentences with words to cover every possible situation. The sentences are wordy and repetitive. And the lawyers seem to think shouty all-caps lettering IS […]

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How to make the most of your writer

Keeping up with the pace of change is a juggling act for internal communicators. “Restructures, leadership changes, redundancies, new technology, mergers and acquisitions, office moves – you’re expected to do it all,” as consultant Rachel Miller of All Things IC (internal communication) points out on her blog. Communication pros are expected to be “masters of […]

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4 prospecting strategies that beat cold calling

When I first went out on my own, I cold-called my way through a battered copy of The Canadian Writer’s Market. Although the effort eventually resulted in some freelance writing work, the experience was painful, as I recently recounted. The tactic is unlikely to lead to success these days. Who answers the phone any more? […]

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Cat’s and other apostrophe follies

A blog post suggests that organization’s forget about people. A menu lists stir fry’s. An email warns about using knock off’s rather than original iPhone parts. A gift shop sells a charming sign about Cat’s leaving paw prints on your heart. As Grammar Monster says, “Don’t add an apostrophe to a word just because the […]

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Where’s “Waldo”? Find the human in your stories

When my sons were growing up, books were a big part of our life. One memorable series was Where’s Waldo? by Martin Handford. The boys enjoyed scanning the detailed illustrations searching for that one specific individual, the bespectacled Waldo. Company employees are looking for “Waldo,” too. By that I mean any time you want to […]

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