This guest post is by Mr. Broke Professional: the husband in the husband/wife team behind Brokeprofessionals.com
“I think you need to rewrite that last paragraph,” she said. “And this time, maybe try to be just a little more concise.”
She said it gently. Yet the words stung. She could tell I was a little hurt, so she tried to smooth it over.
“I really like this blog post. I think it is going to be well received by our readers.” I patiently waited for the “but.” And after a moment or two it came.
“But … the only thing is (and please don’t be upset) maybe you should also work a little more on the title before hitting the Publish button.”
This was a new criticism and I did not expect it. Again it hurt. I do not particularly like being edited, by anyone. “Anything else?” I asked with more than a hint of sarcasm.
“Yeah, when you’re done with that can you help me set the table? Dinner is almost ready.”
So goes life when you blog as a husband/wife team.
Note that I’ll use the term “spouse” in this post, but this word is being used to mean any type of relationship.
Advantages of blogging as a husband/wife team
There’s a lot to be said for blogging in partnership with your spouse.
The one resource all bloggers can agree they need more of is time. Unfortunately it’s also the most finite of resources. Partnering up with at least one other co-blogger is great because you can, in theory, accomplish twice the amount of work. For example, while one of you is working on the creative portion of your blog, your co-blogger can work on blog promotion.
When you co-blog with your spouse, as I do, it’s even easier to communicate. You’re probably always together anyway, so even dinner can become an impromptu brainstorming session.
Not feeling guilty about the blogging “time suck”
Another advantage of co-blogging with your spouse is that it’s a great way to spend a lot of time on your blogging hobby without feeling like you are alienating your family. I feared in the beginning that my wife would start to resent my blog, but instead I turned her into a blogging co-conspirator.
Honest feedback and criticism
My wife and I can be (sometimes brutally) honest with our criticisms with one another because we have been together for years. We are in sync and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I understand that she finds the creative process more engaging than blog promotion, so I try to pull more weight with promotion and online networking.
Much like real life, as bloggers your spouse and you will tend to form a complete unit, whereby you can as a team rise well above the level of skill and/or success that you could ever hope to achieve individually.
Improving your blog’s voice and perspective
Our blog has brought us closer together and we can sometimes incorporate our marital dynamic subtly into our blog. We have blog “debates” or use in-jokes that are, hopefully endearing to our audience and different from what they generally read in most other personal finance blogs.
You can leverage your relationship to maybe create a more unique and valuable experience for your audience.
Like an exercise program, a book club, or a diet, it can be very motivational to have a blogging partner—someone who can push you, and keep you inspired and working towards the ultimate goals of your blog. It’s also helpful if that person is someone you do not want to let down.
There are nights when I don’t want to follow our posting schedule, but then I think about how we’re a team. Also, having someone else around to pull half the weight means that I have not yet come close to burnout, despite the fact that we both have demanding day jobs and keep a daily posting schedule.
Challenges of blogging as a husband/wife team
Like any partnership, blogging with your spouse has its challenges.
Creative control issues
You need look no further than examples of various movie star couples that have broken up after working together on a movie project than to know that working with your spouse is not without its potential traps.
For some, the whole purpose of starting a blog may be to escape a job or family, or to simply have something all their own. Once you partner up with a co-blogger, whether the co-blogger is a friend, a stranger, or your spouse, you will no longer possess 100% creative control over the blog.
For example, once I wrote a post that was, in hindsight, really quite weak. It was weak because it was a subject only I really cared about, and it was outside the scope of our niche. My wife pointed this out, and I have to admit I begrudged it for a little bit, even though I knew deep down she was right. The opposite scenario has occurred as well. This creative collaboration can benefit the blog, but it’s still a challenge for the individuals involved.
The stronger personality may take over
This is the Fight Club Rule in effect. Essentially, and as with the rest of your marriage (or in any relationship, really), the stronger party may hijack creative control, and thus alter the intended direction of your blog.
This is not an issue that affects us personally, but we definitely have some friends in couples who could not, in our opinion, function as a 50/50 blogging team. This is particularly devastating if the less visionary or talented partner is the one who is more desirous of control.
Fear of honest criticism
I realize I previously listed open communication and honesty as a likely result of blogging with your spouse, but I can also imagine scenarios where even married couples are too nice to be honest about whether material is right for their blog or not—and the kind of friction that might result.
There have been times when I’ve been jealous of one of my wife’s posts going viral or getting more comments—particularly if my posts have been in a prolonged slump. It is only normal to feel a twinge of envy under such a scenario, and it is one of the possible occupational hazards of working with any partner on a blog.
The blog becomes consuming
I fear I have the blogging addiction much worse than my wife does. I am sure there are times when she wishes we could just relax without worrying about furthering the blog. The solution, of course, is to set some boundaries. That said, if you figure out how to properly establish such boundaries, please let me know, so I can try to establish some as well! My wife would be forever indebted to you, I’m sure.
Are two heads better than one?
The important thing, of course, is to have fun and to allow the co-blogging experience to bring you together as a couple. The major thing to avoid is burnout induced from working together. If you ever need a reminder of what not to do, turn to this post or, if you’re desperate, watch the movie “The Getaway” starring Alec Baldwin and his ex-wife, Kim Basinger.
If you establish the right boundaries and you both find a passion for blogging, then your co-blogging experience can be both beneficial to your readers and to your marriage.
Have you ever co-blogged? What was your experience like? If you haven’t co-blogged with a spouse, would you consider doing so? I look forward to reading your responses.
Join our husband/wife blogging team as we discuss life for the overeducated and underpaid, along with what we have learned about blogging thus far, over at Brokeprofessionals.com.