A guest post by Dustin Riechmann of Engaged Marriage.
My 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.