Wednesday, September 14, 2011
7 Questions With an Author: Bryan Allain
This is my weekly series titled 7 Questions With an Author... where I pose seven questions to an author and then share their unedited answers here.
Today's author is Bryan Allain. A blogger since 2001, Bryan writes daily doses of nonsense and inspiration at BryanAllain.com, while also providing coaching and resources to bloggers at KillerTribes.com.
His writing has appeared in print in RELEVANT Magazine and COLLIDE Magazine and online at Stuff Christians Like, The Burnside Writers Collective, and The Daily Beast. He lives with his wife, Erica, and their two children, Kylie and Parker, in Lancaster County, PA.
Here's 7 Questions With an Author: Bryan Allain
1. Tell us about your book?
31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo is my attempt to distill everything I know about blogging into bite-sized chunks and action items that people can easily get through in a month. It's also my attempt to write a humorous book on blogging, because I don't think it's been done before.
2. What led you to write it?
A divining rod. And also the fact that I love talking about blogging and helping people find their voice, but my previous efforts to do that had all been at higher price points. The coaching and other resources I've provided have been received really well, but I wanted to offer something at a lower price point to folks who weren't sure about me or my blogging skills. Hopefully this book is that "gateway drug."
3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?
I love Bill Simmons who writes for ESPN at Grantland.com. I've followed him for about 10 years and he inspires me because he writes in his own style about the things that matter to him. When he got hired by ESPN he could have easily stopped writing about Hollywood and 90210 and betting on football and comedy, but he didn't because those things were a part of who he was. It wasn't a schtick, it was his voice. And because he's stayed true to that, he now has a site where the focus is 80% sports and 20% pop culture. That inspires me to keep writing about the things I care about.
4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?
I tried to keep every day's lesson to two pages or less to keep it manageable for the reader. Because I could talk about blogging for days, this was a bit of a challenge. But in the end I think the fact that it is leaner makes it a better read.
5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Write a lot. I know EVERYONE says this, but it's because it's true. Few things make me cringe more than someone who says they want to be a writer, but they don't have a blog or they're not writing articles to submit to magazines or any other creative outlet. If you want to be a writer, you CAN be one in about a week. Make time every day to write and stick with it. If you can do that for seven days, congrats, you're a "writer." The next step is to keep doing that the rest of your life so you can keep getting better and keep falling deeper in love with the craft.
6. Where do you get your ideas?
The ideas are everywhere, I've always been more interested in how ideas are collected. For me it means talking to myself on my long commutes, thinking out loud while I cut the grass, and keeping track of everything that makes me laugh. Not all ideas are great, but if I can apply my own unique voice to an idea at least it becomes mine. Then when I throw it out there for readers, it either works or it doesn't. In the end I know that more ideas will come. It's my job to take them and view them through the unique lens I have and share that with folks.
7. Anything that you'd like readers to know that I haven't asked?
This question sounds like a trap. In the past five seconds I've thought of 42 things I want people to know about me, and surprisingly they are all flattering. Now I'm thinking about all the things I DON'T want people to know about me, and geesh, that's a scary list.
I'll just say this: It's always been important to me to make people laugh, and the fact that I get to do that on my blog every week is such a gift. If your readers have some desire burning inside them like that, whether it's being funny or teaching people or connecting people, a blog is a great way to do it. And my one hope for the book is that it helps a lot of people get better at doing the thing they love on their blog. And I used to be in MENSA. And I wet the bed well into junior high.
That's 7 questions with author Bryan Allain. I've known him personally for quite sometime and he is one of the funniest, supportive and helpful individuals I know with past bladder issues. Bryan's advice and guidance have helped improve my own blog and can do the same for anyone else. Be sure to check out and subscribe to his site at www.bryanallain.com - I view it every day.
Question: If you're a blogger, what's the one challenge you can't seem to overcome?