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7 Tips to Keep Your Family On-Board for Your Blogging Journey

A guest post by Dustin Riechmann of Engaged Marriage.

Blogging and FamilyMy life is pretty typical for a 30-year old family man these days. I do my best to maintain a hectic schedule and the demands that come with balancing a wife, kids, a full-time career, a mortgage, church, community service, tee ball practice, my daughter’s tea parties and the occasional beer or round of golf with my buddies.

Oh yeah, and I’m a blogger, too.

Does This Sound Familiar?

You crawl into bed several hours after what would be considered a normal bedtime. Sure, you are short on sleep and you have a big meeting in the morning, but you are feeling pumped about the great post you just knocked out. This could be the pillar content or the guest post for ProBlogger that puts your blog on the map.

Is your spouse happy for you, or do they feel left out or abandoned?

Of course, the answer to this hypothetical (but really important) question won’t hinge on your actions on one particular night spent working late. The way your spouse and/or kids view your online pursuits will be based on the way they have been impacted and where they feel they fit into your many priorities.

A healthy family life is not only critical for your happiness but for your success in blogging. The creation, growth and maintenance of a remarkable blog requires a great deal of energy and hard work. And if you are constantly fighting the resistance of those in your own household, you are simply not able to sustain the required effort for the long haul.

7 Tips to Build Family Support for Your Blog

I have experienced these struggles first-hand during my first six months of blogging, and I happen to write on the topic of building an extraordinary marriage and family life.

Here are some tips that should help keep your spouse happy and your family supportive of your admirable efforts:

1. Set Priorities and Keep Them

Trust me, I know how easy it is to become totally obsessed with your blog, and this is especially true when you are getting started and trying to do so many different things to create a quality site and attract an audience. I think this passion is an awesome thing, and if you don’t have it you probably need to question your chosen niche or maybe even your desire to be a serious blogger.

However, you really need to take a step back and make sure you have your priorities straight. If you have a family (and you like them and would prefer that they stick around), you cannot let your blog trump your love and attention to them. Set your priorities, communicate them clearly and then let your actions confirm your good intentions.

2. Create Healthy Boundaries

The best way to stay true to your priorities is to create some boundaries with your time. For example, I have established a “no computer time” rule for myself where I don’t use the laptop (or my smart phone) between the time I get home from work and when we get the kids to bed. By setting up this boundary, I free my time and my mind to enjoy my children, play outside or help my wife out with dinner each evening.

Tell your spouse about your boundaries and encourage them to let you know if they see you slipping and not holding true to your commitments. Your family should be your best accountability partner, and they’ll know better than anyone when they feel like you’re not keeping them your top priority.

3. Communicate Your Reasons for Blogging

Why are you investing all this time and effort into blogging anyway? Take the time to tell your loved ones why your blog is important to you and how you see it as a benefit for your family.

It could be that you see it as a creative outlet, it makes you a better person or simply that you want to make money with your blog. Whatever your reasons, I’d bet that your intentions are good and that your entire household could be helped by your hard work. Tell them about it!

4. Sacrifice Personal Time, Not Family Time

If you have made the commitments that should come along with marriage or having children, it’s vital that you don’t push those aside in deference to your time online. We already talked about setting priorities, but the way you prove your intentions is in how you spend your time.

When you need to put your blog time into overdrive to meet a deadline or create your own product, it will require a sacrifice of time from some other area of your life. If you want your family to stay on-board with your efforts, you must sacrifice your own personal time. This may mean skipping poker night or a girl’s night out, but it shouldn’t mean missing your date night with your spouse or your daughter’s school play.

5. Seek Their Input

If you want your family to love your blog as much as you do (okay, so that’s not possible), try to get them involved in some way. This could be as simple as having your spouse proofread a post, or it could mean that you share your thoughts about a recent family event with your audience in a relevant way.

The way you handle this will obviously depend on your niche. I wouldn’t expect many writers to share the same level of personal stories as someone with a marriage blog, but you can surely find a way to make your family feel like they have at least a small ownership in your efforts.

6. Don’t Get Too Personal

While you want to get their input, you need to be careful not to cross the line by sharing too much personal information on your site to the point that your family becomes uncomfortable. You should have a general agreement with your spouse about what is okay to include in a blog post, such as using real names, personal stories or family photos.

My site discusses some pretty intimate issues (sex, money and spirituality for instance), and I love to include personal examples to help create compelling content. However, we have discussed this issue thoroughly, and my wife is totally cool with it as long as I don’t get too crazy. In fact, that’s actually my family in the picture above for all of ProBlogger nation to scrutinize.

Make sure you define the “personal line” with your family and don’t cross it without their permission.

7. Be Inspired By Your Family

You love your family, and if you are like me, they motivate you to do great things. Let your time with them fuel your motivation and inspire you to have an awesome blog.

This could be as simple as breaking writer’s block by goofing around with your kids, or it could mean literally writing a post based around a unique family experience. Let the love and energy your family provides shine through in your writing.

You Can Have It All

A successful blog requires some late nights and a lot of time. There really is no substitute for hard work, and you are not going to get the results you desire without a significant investment of your energy and attention.

However, if you keep things in perspective and make the proper investments in your relationships, you can have a thriving blog amidst all the craziness of life. More importantly, you can have the awesome marriage and healthy life that your entire family deserves.

So, what will you do to ensure that your family remains supportive of your blogging journey?

I’ve gotta run…I have a date night planned with my wife. And soccer practice bright and early tomorrow morning.

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage with the mission of helping others achieve the extraordinary in marriage and in life. Please visit his site for more proactive and practical advice on topics ranging from Sex to Spirituality…and find him on Facebook and Twitter.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Just a note that some responses are getting held in moderation and some are not. I am responding to all, though, so you should see yours at some point soon…

    @DJ – You may not be aware of this, but I ALSO work a 9-5 (usually more like 8-6) as a transportation engineer. Right now, I think I’d like to continue that full-time and keep Engaged Marriage part-time. However, I’m open to change if the right opportunities are presented. :)

  2. @Thomas – I’m no priest, but I’ll absolve you of your blogging sins. :) Seriously, I’m very happy that you are seeing where you are having issues slipping into a “blogging addiction.” It’s easy to do when you are passionate about your topic. I’d suggest setting up some boundaries on your time, telling your girlfriend about it and asking her to help keep you accountable. And thanks for your compliments.

    @Chris – Excellent suggestions, my friend. The majority of my blogging time comes when I used to watch TV, over lunch breaks and sometimes when I should be sleeping.

  3. @Elizabeth – Thank you! I really love your suggestion of developing an arsenal of draft posts. If you can get ahead and store some up when you do have time, it will give you freedom to set blogging aside when your family needs you.

    @Ami – Another great suggestion, my man. Based on your post, I am giving thought to setting aside one day per week when I don’t blog. I know the times of greatest creative thinking for me are when I’m doing non-blogging stuff (day job, hunting, cycling, walking, driving, etc.).

  4. @SkiWithMarty – Your comment made me smile. Although she didn’t fully understand just how much it meant to me, I was sure to share my joy with my wife when Darren told me he would feature this post on Problogger. Now that’s a WOO-HOO moment!

    @Angela – I get my wife to leave the occasional comment, too. When she does, I know it was a great post. :) And I love the perspective you share with your kids and the limited time we have to enjoy raising them.

  5. @Ben – Excellent advice. We all need time to get our blog the hell out of our head! It can be very tough sometimes, but when you get away and come back, the motivation really fires up.

    @Kris – Yeah, these ideas definitely apply to other life balance issues. I think you’ll find the “no computer time” idea to be quite refreshing and energizing.

  6. @Naomi – YES! This advice absolutely has wide application. In fact, a lot of what I blog about at Engaged Marriage is balancing different “stuff” with your family life.

    We are all SO busy, but it really is possible to have a thriving marriage/blog/business/etc/etc as long as you use your time effectively and with purpose. And you keep your priorities, whatever those may be, top of mind and in control of your time.

    @Jack – I believe your “blogging deadline” comment was referencing Darren’s story about this wife. Very pertinent indeed!

  7. FREE HELP says:

    Great list you have there! It would be great if you could add something about working on your blog along with your spouse/kids on separate sections, like one for kids, one for spouses for the same set of audience. Would that be a good idea?

  8. @网络营销 – I actually disagree with at least one of your points. I think you are MORE likely to meet goals if you share them with others. This builds in expectation and accountability. I sometimes get my positivity out of proving others wrong. :)

    @FrazzledMom – Wow, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing my post/site with others! I agree that this advice goes well beyond blogging, but I had to get Darren’s attention somehow. :)

  9. @Stu – I really appreciate your support, my friend. You indeed do a wonderful job of including your wife at The Marry Blogger. Bethany (my wife) doesn’t have any interest in sharing the cyber-spotlight with me at this time, but she *gets* what I’m doing and is super-supportive behind the scenes.

    @Amanda – Blogging while Breastfeeding, I LOVE it! Actually, that would make a great blog name, maybe I’ll get my wife into blogging after all when our next baby arrives in July….hmmm.

    Anyway, thank you for your kind words and for subscribing to Engaged Marriage!

  10. @The Casual Observer – TV time was my major sacrifice as well…along with sleep!

    @Meredith – Your experience sounds SO similar to my own. And I’m a total nerd as well (engineer and all), and I will be checking out your Venn diagram and your blog!

  11. @ChiChi – You are preaching to the choir, my friend. I articulated some great tips here, but I still struggle to follow-through and “practice what I preach” each day. I’m getting better all the time, though, with the love and support of my wife. Thanks for subscribing to Engaged Marriage!

    @Supermarket Soap – That’s a great tip as well. You just have to be careful to make sure you are really only blogging “during your breaks” and not letting your whole workday get away from you as you get engrossed in your blog. Depending on who is reading, that may or may not also be spoken from experience. :)

  12. How to Blog says:

    I really agree with the number 4, i usually sacrifice some of my time in watching TV,chatting, just to cope up with more productive things like blogging

  13. @How to Blog – I think #4 is key as well since you really can’t cut your family time significantly and still keep them on-board with your efforts. And no one really *needs* to watch American Idol anyhow. :)

  14. I have done point number 4 and point number 7 as well. Even my family is not a blogger or internet geek.

  15. Nice post. It’s good to see the family side of blogging being addressed too.

  16. @Technology Slice – Thanks, that’s kind of what I do!

  17. Dustin, congratulations on a great post. You have articulated a lot of what is vitally important in people’s lives, even when they may not be aware of those things. By doing the important things properly, happiness truly follows!

    Dustin, I am reading a really really good book by Stephen Covey called “The 7 Habits Of Higly effective Families”.

    If you want to be successful in both your career and family then do yourself a favour and read this book. It is tops!

  18. This is a really big challenge for me, being a mum of 3. It can become quite a juggle at times. One rule I have is that if my family needs me, they come first, end of story. As much as I love my readers and love to give them an excellent experience, if I have sick little ones, or my fiance is sick, then blogging has to wait, and I honestly believe my readers are fine with that.

    What I would love to read about, is how much time others spend on blogging, what their routine is? I’m not sure if I read something like that once here, but I did read something helpful about it ages ago, and cannot find it!

  19. KS Chen says:

    Yes! I always put my family and my girl friend in the first place of my heart. Nothing is important than them. I will also let them know what i’m doing. I just start blogging. Sure i will let them know. They are supporting me too. :)

  20. @Gerry – Thanks! I am definitely familiar with the “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” but I’ll have to check out the family version. I enjoy Stephen Covey’s “4 Quadrant” approach to prioritization. Thanks for the tip!

    @Hear Mum Roar – I can definitely relate with two little ones and one on the way. I love your suggestion about a case study of sorts to see how other bloggers spend their time. That would give us reasonable benchmarks to compare our own efforts to and would provide great insight into how others handle their workload.

  21. @Desainer – Thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience.

    @This Momma Works It! – Thank you for your kind words, and I can definitely relate to your time constraints and feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day. I also have many more ideas written down than I’ve found time to post about.

    I find it helpful to “batch” my efforts, so when I do find some time I crank out as much related writing as I can. That helps with efficiency. I also try to maintain a realistic posting schedule of 2-3 times per week. With a professional career and many other things to attend to, I won’t be matching Darren’s 7 days a week schedule (on three blogs which is simply amazing) anytime soon!

  22. @Dale – Thanks so much for your kind words. I have to write this stuff to keep myself in line as well. Once my wife reads a post like this, my level of accountability definitely goes up!

    @Free Help – Thank you. Are you suggesting a similar list of tips except separated for concerns related to your spouse and your kids? That could be helpful (especially for those that only have a spouse or kids and not both), but I think these tips really apply in most family situations.

  23. @J.D. – Thanks, man! You know I’m a fan of those as well.

    @Gina – Thank you and I agree, thanks to Darren for sharing my post! It sure can be hard to shut it down sometimes, but I seem to have no regrets after I take that short time away.

  24. @Surgery – I actually agree with you! I have separate personal and Engaged Marriage fan pages on Facebook for just that reason. I want my friends to “opt in” to my fan page if they want the news and links related to Engaged Marriage.

    @Samantha – I follow your blog, and I know this life balance issue is top of mind for you right now. Keep praying about it and talking with your husband, and I’m confident you guys will work out what’s best for your family!

  25. WOW, what a post and the content is really great. I really loved the article and I am pretty sure people who are really busy with their blogs they need to read this article and try to use the tips given. Family and Blog both need attention, it all depends how you balance it.

    Nice one.

    Thanks
    Jay

  26. Nicholas says:

    This is a good post Dustin.

    A very important reminder of how important it is to get the balance right when juggling family, work, personal development, and of course – blogging!

    I love it when our children ask to read our blog. Following your post, our next steps will be:

    1) to talk to them about why we blog, and
    2) to give thought to how we get them more involved.

    Anyway – I’m off to watch a film with the Fab4!

    Thanks

  27. @Denise – Absolutely! It sounds like we are in the same boat with full-time work and family obligations. Best of luck to you!

    @Sarah – Thank you! I’ll definitely be checking out your blog. Intimacy is a cornerstone in the topics covered at Engaged Marriage, and I look forward to learning from you at your site as well.

  28. @KS – Excellent, man. It sounds like your heart and priorities are in the right place. Good luck with your new blog!

    @Jay – Thanks so much for your kind words and support. It’s all about good balance!

    @Nicholas – It sounds like you have a great perspective, and I really like your game plan for moving forward. Enjoy your Sunday!

  29. #’s 1 and 4 are of prime importance. We often work from home in order to spend more time with family, but end up working as much, if not more, as we did when we worked out of the home. You must organize your schedule and set priorities, or else you will end up where you started.

  30. @David – I totally agree! I work for a consulting firm, but I keep my own hours and operate pretty independently. I have worked from home on several occasions and had the kids with me. I felt like I didn’t get much work done AND I didn’t spend much quality time with them either. I’m sure that’s a challenge when you operate that way regularly.

  31. Great post, and wise advice. You know, you can tell the character and priorities of bloggers (or anyone!) in how they manage their blogs, deal with their money and how they manage quality time with family members. If you’re good at it, it’s a crazy, tempered juggling act.

  32. Barb says:

    Great post. It is really hard to balance not being too personal on a mom blog but I try not post things that are going to completely embarrass them if their friends read it.

  33. Julius says:

    I especially like the tips about asking your family to remind you if you’re getting out of your bounderies, and letting them be involved in your blog-related work. Through the latter tip, they can even give you ideas you can use for your next post.

  34. eally big challenge for me, being a mum of 3. It can become quite a juggle at times. One rule I have is that if my family needs me, they come first, end of story. As much as I love my readers and love to give them an excellent experience, if I have sick little ones, or my fiance is sick, then blogging has to wait

  35. Dustin’s site, Engaged Marriage, really is a great site. Practical, inspirational content. As site that truly focuses on a happy and healthy lifestyle, marriage, and family. It’s upbeat and refreshing and that’s awesome!

  36. Dave Higgs says:

    Dustin – Thankyou for the post. It is a very valuable perspective and one that reaches beyond just blogging.

    Your point #4 about personal time rather than family time is especially important – in everything we do (as individuals), our hobbies, friends, business, and of course blogging. It is so easy (as a father/husband/bread winner) to say “I am busy” – but are we really?

    I think of a song (I suppose there are many) called “Busy Man”.

    Very relevant post, thanks again

  37. @Sherry – I totally agree with you. I think that over time the character of anyone, including a blogger, begins to shine through and it has a big role in their long-term success. I think Darren’s excellent character is actually a great example of this.

    @Barb – I’m sure you mommy bloggers do have a tough time with that balance. With the sheer number and enthusiasm of the mom blogging community, I often wonder how many ticked off teens we’ll have running around in 10-15 years with all of their baby pictures spread around the web. :-)

  38. @Julius – Thanks! I definitely get my best ideas either directly from my family or, more often, by living with them and observing how we all interact.

    @abercrombie – I think you have your priorities in the right place. We all love the readers and communities that gather around our blog, but blood runs thicker than blogs. :)

  39. @Brad – Thanks so much! Coming from a tech guy, I especially take your compliments to heart.

    @Dave – Thank you for your kind words. I definitely agree that these principles apply beyond blogging. The way we prioritize and then use our time is really the foundation of our quality of life.

  40. Jeff C says:

    I actually implemented one of your suggestions today and stayed off the computer from the time I got home until the kids went to bed. Instead of huddling over my laptop, I played fetch with the dog and took the kids outside and played on scooters and bikes – it was refreshing! My wife has told me repeatedly that we need to do that, but sometimes I think you need to read it or hear it from a third party before it really sinks in. Keep up the good work!

  41. @Jeff – Awesome job on the “no computer time”! I have found that although it can be tough (as sad as that is), it really is more fulfilling to simply spend time with the family each day….without the distractions that accompany the laptop.

  42. I’m sure you mommy bloggers do have a tough time with that balance. With the sheer number and enthusiasm of the mom blogging community, I often wonder how many ticked off teens we’ll have running around in 10-15 years with all of their baby pictures spread around the web

  43. hokya says:

    blogging with family is really nice :D
    i hope my sister will gonna love it soon

  44. @hokya – Thanks for the comment. I don’t have any family that blogs, aside from my wife’s periodic updates on a private Blogger site. If we both did, I think I’d have to buy another laptop. :)

  45. series says:

    if you want time for blogging you have 2 options:

    1 Create a blog for your wife and she is bloggging too.
    2 Forget your wife and live alone

  46. @series – Thanks for your comment. I’ll assume you were being sarcastic. However, I must say that if you feel those are your only two options, you either have a horrible relationship now or you are not mature enough to enjoy a meaningful relationship and should stick to the single life.

  47. Dustin,

    I so needed to read this today – I thank you… and my husband thanks you!

  48. @Shannon O – You’re very welcome! Thanks for reading it…and for sharing it with your husband.

  49. This works for internet marketing too. I mean i cant tell you how many times my family think im nuts for doing what im doing. But i know if i keep pushing this i am going to make it. Thats why i have to end up doing.

  50. Allan Ward says:

    Great post Dustin. You’re facing the similar challanges that I am – we even both have soccer practice!
    I remember a pastor at church making a statement years ago about careers and sacrifices. He said “it’s alright to sacrifice things, as long as it’s you making the sacrifice and not your family”.
    This really spoke to me and I’ve tried to honour that over the years as I’ve worked full time, studied an MBA part time, bought into a business and started blogging.
    I have my most productive times when the rest of the family are in bed. When they’re up, and particularly before the kids go to bed, they have my attention.
    Good luck with your blog.
    Allan