Sue’s newsletter

Wordnerdery is a monthly newsletter with tips on writing, words, newsletters and more.
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Past Issues

Issue 119 – January 2023: Be kind and translate your Terms of Use

Issue 118 – December 2022: Christmas flashbacks to ‘life is short’ musings

Issue 117 – November 2022: Cut contract confusion (before & after)

Issue 116 – October 2022: How big is big? Perspective makes it plain

Issue 115 – September 2022: Clear the way to better writing

Issue 114 – August 2022: Weasel words only get you in deeper trouble

Issue 113 – July 2022: Are companies embracing DEI?

Issue 112 – June 2022: Set the stage for effective employee announcements

Issue 111 – May 2022: An empty gas tank + more pandemic analogies

Issue 110 – April 2022: 5 ways to make environmental comms clear

Issue 109 – March 2022: Break the ‘Curse of Knowledge’

Issue 108 – February 2022: A ‘Post-it note’ for the brain + more analogies

Issue 107 – January 2022: Want feedback? Get to the point

Issue 106 – December 2021: 54 ways to be kind

Issue 105 – November 2021: How to set your survey up for success

Issue 104 – October 2021: How comms + PR people can make a difference to DEI

Issue 103 – September 2021: ‘Spaghetti on a plate’ + more pandemic analogies

Issue 102 – August 2021: 9 tips for writing bulleted lists

Issue 101 – July 2021: 5 ways to help make numbers make sense

Issue 100 – June 2021: Newsletters are back (or they never left)

Issue 99 – May 2021: Asking people to sign a release? Make it readable

Issue 98 – April 2021: Walking on Lego + more COVID-19 analogies

Issue 97 – March 2021: So what if you dangle your modifier?

Issue 96 – February 2021: It’s a Zoom world; warm up your words to match

Issue 95 – January 2021: #WFH means internal newsletters need to be more helpful in 2021

Issue 94 – December 2020: Apt analogies related to COVID-19

Issue 93 – November 2020: More comms that’s working during COVID-19

Issue 92 – October 2020: Comms during COVID-19: What’s working?

Issue 91 – September 2020: 5 lessons writers can learn from hiking the Bruce Trail

Issue 90 – August 2020: Reel in reader attention with captions that captivate

Issue 89 – July 2020: 34 ways to kick ‘unprecedented’ to the curb

Issue 88 – June 2020: 15 ways to get to the heart of headlines

Issue 87 – May 2020: 9+ tips to overcome imposter syndrome

Issue 86 – April 2020: How to make numbers make sense, COVID-19 edition

Issue 85 – March 2020: 4 strategies to communicate during social distancing

Issue 84 – February 2020: The inside view of comms, part 5 (member comms at RTO)

Issue 83 – January 2020: The ‘cooling power of a cat yawning’ and more metaphor magic

Issue 82 – December 2019: Life is short; eat the shortbread

Issue 81 – November 2019: Make ‘terms of service’ readable

Issue 80 – October 2019: CEO support fosters great internal comms

Issue 79 – September 2019The inside view of employee comms, part 4 (with a look at PepsiCo Foods Canada)

Issue 78 – August 2019: Print’s not dead

Issue 77 – July 2019: The inside view of employee comms, part 3 (with a look inside Chartwell Retirement Residences)

Issue 76 – June 2019: The inside view of employee comms, part 2 (with best practices for e-newsletters)

Issue 75 – May 2019: The inside view of employee comms, part 1 (all about e-newsletters with Bananatag)

Issue 74 – April 2019: Words as Legos + more expressive language

Issue 73 – March 2019: 8 ways to make numbers meaningful

Issue 72 – February 2019: 8 reasons to keep e-newsletters in your comms toolbox

Issue 71 – January 2019: 8 ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions on track

Issue 70 – December 2018: Life is short: A Christmas reminder

Issue 69 – November 2018: Look for words that count people in

Issue 68 – October 2018: Think plain to make complex writing more readable

Issue 67 – September 2018: Cat’s + other apostrophe follies (for National Punctuation Day)

Issue 66 – August 2018: Feathers ‘soft as a whisper’ and more expressive writing

Issue 65 – July 2018: Let songwriters inspire your storytelling

Issue 64 – June 2018: Take steps to make legal statements readable

Issue 63 – May 2018: 9 ways to ace your endings

Issue 62 – April 2018: 3 ways to give numbers the context they need

Issue 61 – March 2018: Find your focus in the nut graf

Issue 60 – February 2018: Short attention span? Looks like a job for expressive writing

Issue 59 – January 2018: 8 ways to reel in your reader

Issue 58 – December 2017: Your “About” page is the place to get personal

Issue 57 – November 2017: Are you really explaining? Readability tests tell all

Issue 56 – October 2017: 10 tips for an effective non-profit newsletter

Issue 55 – September 2017: Citing Indigenous people? 10 ways to show respect

Issue 54 – August 2017: Hook your reader with compelling captions

Issue 53 – July 2017: 8 ways to get through the approval process

Issue 52 – June 2017: 5 reasons you should still embrace print

Issue 51 – May 2017: Employees need the inside scoop from leaders

Issue 50 – April 2017: How to keep your marketing e-newsletter in the spotlight

Issue 49 – March 2017: Take the dull out of digits

Issue 48 – February 2017: ‘Content as a Russian doll’ and more expressive writing

Issue 47 – January 2017: 7 ways to sabotage your employee e-newsletter

Issue 46 – December 2016: Let go of the stocking to live in the moment

Issue 45 – November 2016: Is Trump the new poster boy for plain language?

Issue 44 – October 2016: Interviews that get to the core of the story

Issue 43 – September 2016: How often to publish your employee newsletter

Issue 42 – August 2016: 4 steps to meaningful mission statements

Issue 41 – July 2016: 9 steps to readable writing

Issue 40 – June 2016: How to make numbers meaningful

Issue 39 – May 2016: Rhyme and rhythm: Musicians know how to write

Issue 38 – April 2016: 3 ways to spark interest with expressive writing

Issue 37 – March 2016: 7 deadly sins of e-newsletters

Issue 36 – February 2016: ‘Insight as a cat’ & more expressive writing

Issue 35 – January 2016: Jargon? Pin that Jell-O to the wall

Issue 34 –  December 2015: How to make resolutions you’ll keep

Issue 33 – November 2015: 5 Pinterest pointers for small business

Issue 32 – October 2015: Frightened? Good, that’s one way to grow

Issue 31 – September 2015: 5 tips for saying you’re sorry

Issue 30 – August 2015: 7 tips for inclusive writing about disabilities

Issue 29 – July 2015: 7 steps to spin straw into gold

Issue 28 – June 2015: 7 tips for non-profit annual reports

Issue 27 – May 2015: Get an ‘aha’ moment with analogy

Issue 26 – April 2015: 4 ways to simplify your sustainability report

Issue 25 – March 2015: How to reach “non-desk” employees

Issue 24 – February 2015: Is print dead?

Issue 23 – January 2015: Why newsletters still have value

Issue 22 – December 2014: Linguistic cicadas, a six-car pileup of clichés and other expressive writing

Issue 21 – November 2104: Launching a newsletter? Here are some ideas on content.

Issue 20 – October 2014: Tips for writing for impatient readers (and aren’t we all?)

Issue 19 – September 2014: Tips for getting and using quotes

Issue 18 – August 2014: Don’t gas your readers with jargon monoxide

Issue 17 – July 2014: The expressive language of loss

Issue 16 – June 2014: What the new anti-spam law means for newsletters

Issue 15 – May 2014: Use plain language to boost readability

Issue 14 – April 2014: How often should you publish your newsletter?

Issue 13 – March 2014: ‘Dumpster diving in the Internet’ and other expressive writing

Issue 12 – February 2014: Do’s and don’ts for email newsletters

Issue 11 – January 2014: 13 content ideas for association newsletters

Issue 10 – December 2013: Looking for your thoughts on IABC WC14

Issue 9 – November 2013: How to make a 105-word sentence readable

Issue 8 – October 2013: Writing lessons from Dancing With The Stars

Issue 7 – September 2013: What dogs can teach us about communications

Issue 6 – August 2013: 5 writing tips from musicians

Issue 5 – July 2013: 7 writing tips from Sesame Street

Issue 4 – June 2013: An ‘orthographical fig leaf’ and other expressive writing

Issue 3 – May 2013: Tips for great interviews

Issue 2 – April 2013: Fight for readability

Issue 1 – March 2013: Dig to find newsletter content

Front page of Jan issue

“Well-written, thoughtful messages stand out to people, in my experience. That’s why we are always looking at other organizations’ and writers’ emails for new ideas about how to communicate authentically and effectively. (One big reason I enjoy your newsletters!)”

Kathryn Hickok

“I enjoyed reading your newsletter! Unlike many others that promise big in the headlines then don’t deliver, it was interesting, helpful…and short, which makes it easy to read on the run.”

Karen McCall

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The Red Jacket Diaries blog

My take on writing, communications and the independent life. Here are the latest posts:

Writing tips you might have missed, December edition

Writing tips you might have missed, December edition

A new year, a new series of social media posts you might have missed, once again all about writing. Yes, you could say that is a particular interest of mine. There's some advice about getting back into writing after the holidays, tips to be a better writer, what you...

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Gaslighting and goblin mode among the 2022 words of the year

Gaslighting and goblin mode among the 2022 words of the year

In 2022, we finally moved past the pandemic’s domination of the words people searched for online. We’re not out of the pandemic woods yet, of course, and we’re still talking about it. But we’re also looking up and talking about a range of other things going on in our...

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Top 10 posts in the Red Jacket Diaries in 2022

Top 10 posts in the Red Jacket Diaries in 2022

The flurry of end-of-year lists started even before last week. So as 2022 comes to an end (finally!), here’s my last post of the year: The 10 most-viewed posts on my blog in 2022. 1. Like many (you?), I was swept up in the early days of the word craze that is Wordle....

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4 Christmas ‘life is short’ flashbacks (Wordnerdery)

4 Christmas ‘life is short’ flashbacks (Wordnerdery)

In December 2016, Facebook memories showed me a photo of my black Lab, Jake, staring at my son’s Christmas stocking. That photo was taken during what turned out to be Jake's last Christmas. With the famous clarity of hindsight, I thought, and wrote about, "Why didn't...

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A Christmas tale reveals life is short (from the vault)

A Christmas tale reveals life is short (from the vault)

This last month of the year, many of us are getting ready for family gatherings. Some have lost or are estranged from loved ones. Some just don't have the heart after the past few years. Maybe it all reminds you, as it does me, that life is short. That reminder hits...

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All about Christmas trees for National Christmas Tree Day

All about Christmas trees for National Christmas Tree Day

Tomorrow is the first Saturday in December, and that’s National Christmas Tree Day. It’s a perfect day to find out facts about, well, Christmas trees. I'm taking you back to the blog vault for “Fun things to know about Christmas trees.” The post shares an infographic...

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4 steps to simplify contract language (Wordnerdery)

4 steps to simplify contract language (Wordnerdery)

In the old days, a handshake was your contract. Today, the hands involved belong to lawyers, and they are all over the simplest of contracts. Unfortunately, as Ohio Judge Mark P. Painter says, “Most legal writing is atrocious.” Forget short, crisp sentences. One...

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Email tips you might have missed in my November link roundup

Email tips you might have missed in my November link roundup

Hello friend, it’s time for another roundup of links you might have missed from posts I've shared on social media. This time, our focus is email and our sponsor is Elon Musk. Well, he doesn’t know it. But Twitter’s new overlord inspired me to share a collection of...

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