My parents just got dial-up internet access for the first time on their homestead in rural British Columbia. Before that my mother would bring her little netbook once or twice a week to a wifi café and, coffee in hand, check up on Simple Bites. Before that, she went to the small local library and signed up for 30 minutes of Internet time.
She still doesn’t know how to leave a comment, but when we talk during the week, she’ll reference a recent recipe or post.
I know she’s reading.
You can call it validation or parental approval, but over 100k people stop by my blog every week, and yet much of the support I draw from comes from those closest to me.
Why support is important
The food blogging community is a welcoming and supportive one, both North America-wide as well as in the unique local regions, but I believe a successful food blogger needs back-up - and I don’t mean just Time Machine.
We need the support from those closest to us. We value the opinions of our friends and family and when they stand up as our biggest cheerleader, it’s a boost to morale.
Last year I attended four conferences, three of them international, and as a result, formed solid friendships, saw increased traffic to my site, and made life-altering contacts. Had my in-laws and siblings not stepped up to help care for my children during those days I was away, travel would not have been possible.
If you are blogging for a business, then the backing of a spouse is critical to the success of the business. Tsh of Simple Mom demonstrates this in a guest post for ProBlogger titled Marry Your Blog to Your Life … and Watch it Take Off. She cites her husband Kyle as her “..biggest cheerleader and most helpful critic.”
What support looks like
Perhaps we should define ‘support’, as it comes in many forms. Most supportive actions require a mere click of the mouse – a Facebook share, a retweet, a re-pin, but our online community often kindly executes those actions for us if they feel our content is compelling.
Examples of more tangible aid would be my older sister, who tests recipes for me, and her children who provide candid feedback on the dishes. My younger sister has been a willing hand model many times. My mother sends inspiring hand-written notes, describing a new favorite flavor combination, a sugar-free jam brainwave, or the title of a food memoir she is currently readying.
My ever-encouraging husband proofreads every single post I write, as well as contributes significantly to the upkeep of the blog.
Friends fill up my table at parties, oblivious to a camera in their face, or the fact that the dessert table is ‘arranged’. They don’t mind if I photograph their children - and plaster them all over Instagram.
Some of my friends inspire and encourage. Others mentor and nurture. A local (old media) food writer I look up to will take the time to email me if she spots a typo in the day’s blog post.
Extended family will share my blogs’ url with co-workers, encourage me to rummage in their basements for props, and allow me to photograph Thanksgiving dinner. Small potatoes, perhaps, but these are all ways they show their support of my food blogging endeavors.
Of course, there will always be those who think that the extent of your hobby/part-time job/full-time job consists of baking cookies and to some small extent, they are right, but don’t let it bother you!
How to gain support
Communicate. It's important to realize that friends and family may not be trying to be unsupportive –but perhaps they are busy with other things in their life at the moment and are unable to give you the level of support you seek - if any at all. It may also be that they are unaware you are actually seeking support from them.
I suggest having a good talk with the people whom you really want to show active support, for example, your partner, your best friend, a parent or mentor.
Share your progress and milestones. Not only are they a good way to bring up your blog in a conversation, but they also show that you are making progress. Don’t be shy to share a mention in a magazine or a newspaper.
Ask for opinions. What better sounding board to bounce ideas off of than a friend who knows you well and isn’t afraid to challenge you or be completely honest about an idea, written article, or merely a font choice.
When ones personal life thrives, so does their blog, so welcome those around you into what you do and watch how their support will enhance your work.
Q. Do or do you not feel like your food blogging endeavors are backed up by those closest to you? Can you give an example?
Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is the editor and writer over at Simple Bites in addition to the popular blog Under The Highchair. Aimee lives just outside of Montreal with her husband Danny and their 3 children. When she's not planning outdoor winter picnics, epic brunches or spending time championing the importance of family time around the kitchen table, she can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.