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Ground Rules for a Good Blog

Entering this new territory, I’m setting some rules to help me write honestly and well. Why? So I get personal and professional satisfaction, and readers get worthwhile information that’s a pleasure to read.

Rule 1: Write only when I have something to share about business writing: a tip, a bit of wisdom, a useful resource, a story worth retelling.

Rule 2: Promote good business writing. Focus on the bad stuff (without naming offenders) only as examples to avoid.

Rule 3: Write to my readers. Although blogging is keeping a journal, it’s a two-way public pastime.

Rule 4: Have fun with language, tone, and style. Save my more conventional business writing for places where it suits the message, the medium, and the needs of readers.

Rule 5: Use blogging as a commitment to learning. Research new tools to tell about them. Read books and blogs to recommend them. Stretch as a writer and a teacher. Make mistakes publicly, wince then smile about them, and let others learn from them too.

Rule 6: Respect my readers by avoiding blatant self-promotion. Give away more than I sell.

Rule 7: Enjoy the heady company of business bloggers.

Rule 8: Strive to limit myself to just seven rules at one time.

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

3 comments on “Ground Rules for a Good Blog”

  • Lynn, it is great to see your blog up and running. Congratulations! I have no doubt that your viewers will benefit from all that you have to offer in the field of Business Writing! Look forward to reading your future postings.

  • Hi Lynn,

    I need to take a writing course for work. I’m not sure how to find one where I can sit in on the class, instead of an online course. I live in Atlanta GA and I would only benefit from a classroom setting. Is there anyway you can assist me with this or know of someone else. I only want to take a writing course only no other classes.

    Thank you,


  • Lisa, if you can travel, please consider one of my classes in the Seattle area. The next one is on May 17. I always list upcoming public classes on this blog (see upper left sidebar) and on my website at

    If you need a class near Atlanta, try the Training Registry at At that site, you can request a class in your geographical area, and trainers who can meet your needs will contact you.

    Best of luck!


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