We'll be profiling some of our talented bloggers here at WIN over the next few weeks, and we're going to kick off the interview series with Blogging Baby's inimitable Jay Allen.
When did you start blogging and how did you get into it?
I started about three years ago with a now-defunct Pagan spirituality blog. I had heard about blogging for a while, but was more focused on trying to break into traditional publishing. Once I tried it, however, I was hooked. About a year into that blog, I began writing my first book in earnest, and decided to shift my activity over to The Zero Boss. I've been blogging there about parenting, pop culture, religion and human rights issues for nearly two years now.
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
It's hard to isolate one thing. I love writing daily; I love rapid micro-publishing; I love linking to other great blogs, and reading what others have to say about life and current events. More than anything, however, I love the community. I love publishing directly to my readers, without needing the intermediary of publishers and editors. Few writers get to know even a fraction of their readers, and I feel like I know many of them intimately. Several have even become close friends of the family.
Blogging has been put down as an egocentric activity. But the best bloggers get this core fact about the art: blogging it not about them - it's about the community. One individual could never disseminate all of the information available in the world. One individual will never capture all of the intriguing viewpoints on the topic du jour. It takes a community of authors, readers, and commenters to make a blog - or a network of blogs - compelling.
When did you join Weblogs, Inc.?
In February of 2005, one year after I started The Zero Boss. I noticed that a couple Blogging Baby writers had been linking to some of my pieces, so I checked out the site and sent an application to WIN. Things have moved very rapidly since then.
How has it been working at WIN?
Terrific. The blog writers are essentially left alone to determine the editorial policy and forward direction of their blogs. It's the kind of autonomy that many jobs promise, but never deliver.
I decided early on to invest a lot of time into my work at WIN because, in talking to people like Jason Calacanis, Brian Alvey and Judith Meskill, I could tell this was a company that "got it". They knew that they were on the cusp of an evolution in the content industry. They were hitting all the right notes: producing great content, giving editorial freedom to their bloggers, and growing the business at an even, profitable clip. I've had more fun working with this group than at any other job I've held.
What do you do outside of blogging?
What is this "outside of blogging" of which you speak? Seriously, though. I spend time with my wonderful wife and six kids, read (generally nonfiction), and absorb pop culture voraciously. (The folks at Netflix work overtime to keep up with us.) The wife and I spend a fair amount of time soaking in all the wonderful culture available in Seattle, particularly the alternative music scene.