I have been writing this blog for nearly 15 years, and I have decided to move on. Although I am not sure whether this is my final post (that will depend on when a blog sale goes through), I wanted to be sure to say goodbye while I have the chance.
When I created the blog in June 2005, I began with "Ground Rules for a Good Blog." Now, 1110 blog posts and 8900 comments later, let's see how well I followed my own rules.
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.
It's been amazing for me to find so many examples in life that relate to business communication and specifically business writing. These are a few examples of my more creative attempts to tie life to business writing:
Rule 2: Promote good business writing. Focus on the bad stuff (without naming offenders) only as examples to avoid.
Although I once criticized American Express and recently critiqued Elizabeth Warren's messaging, I believe I followed this rule nearly all the time. I shared good examples when I found them and gave bad writers pseudonyms. It was important to me not to embarrass individuals or companies. Here are two good examples I shared:
Rule 3: Write to my readers. Although blogging is keeping a journal, it’s a two-way public pastime.
It was a gift to receive readers' comments on a topic. I definitely learned from you, and I am grateful for those of you who have been with me for many years. When I remember Business Writing blog with a big smile, it will be because of relationships with readers. Also, it was fun to challenge you with proofreading tests and situations like these:
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.
Even though this is a blog, I always tried to model good professional writing. I hope when I had fun with language, no one was left behind. I have never been a very clever writer, and I have given up trying to be one. It's important for all of us to recognize our strengths and build on them.
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.
I enjoyed reading new books and recommending them. I also learned a lot while researching readers' questions, especially about salutations in letters and email. I can remember several public mistakes, but I won't remind you of them! I always appreciated readers diplomatically telling me about my errors.
Rule 6: Respect my readers by avoiding blatant self-promotion. Give away more than I sell.
Readers' comments have suggested that I succeeded here. I hope I gave away a lot.
Rule 7: Enjoy the heady company of business bloggers.
I don't think I succeeded in this area. I focused a lot on readers but did not build relationships with other bloggers through social media. If I started over again, I would try to do that differently.
Rule 8: Strive to limit myself to just seven rules at one time.
I definitely failed here. My blog post from earlier this week has 12 tips!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and that you will continue to read when a new owner takes over. Nothing stays the same, of course, but that's as it should be.
Having had my own business as a training consultant for 30 years--nearly all of it teaching business writing--has been a great joy for me. Now it's time to have fun volunteering, seeing the sights, reading, thinking, and spending time with friends and family. I'm on LinkedIn if you want to stay in touch, but I won't be active there. This is a true retirement for me.
With my deepest gratitude,