In this episode, I talk to Alexandria Blaelock; an author, blogger and philosopher based in Melbourne, Australia.
Alexandria has shared a powerful story on how a major health setback in her life has set her into making the most of your time and follow your passion. In this case, it is to write and publish books, which Alexandria has successfully done and continuing to do so.
Here are just a few things we talk about:
- Making the most of your time and your life
- Standing out as an author in a competitive industry
- Taking the time to understand the logic of using WordPress
- The importance of patience in all aspects of life
- The process of creating content consistently and finding inspirations to do so
“All of us, every single person has their own ways of expressing their thoughts and opinions. So, the way I might explain to you how you tie your shoelace does not involve rabbits and holes and something like that. Whereas the way you explain to me how to tie my shoelaces might involve straight lines and angles or something different.” – Alexandria Blaelock
- Personal website: https://www.alexandriablaelock.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexblaelock
Ahmed: And here we go! This is IgniteRock podcast. This is your host, Ahmed Khalifa, and this is where I talk to creative individuals, who have created some awesome stuff, using WordPress. Man, I’m so excited. Welcome to the show, and thank you for joining me today. I’m so glad that you are actually spending your time with me here today on episode 14 of the IgniteRock podcast. So awesome.
Today’s gonna be a good one, because today, I’m going to be talking to Alexandria Blaelock, an author, blogger, and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia, who has followed her passions, and released books after some major life and health decisions in her life, and really, really good conversation, really good interviews. So many insights which I’m sure you will pick up.Click Here to Show Transcript
If you want today’s show notes, they are available on IgniteRock.com/episode14
In the meantime, just sit back, relax, and just enjoy my chat today with Alexandria Blaelock, and I’ll catch you at the end of the interview.
And here we go, everyone. This is going to be an exciting one today. I have Alexandria on the line, today, all the way from Melbourne, Australia. Much time difference, but we made it work, and I’m so glad we made it work, because I’ve been wanting to talk to Alexandria, and I think it’s gonna be very, very interesting. So, thank you very much for coming on the line. I really appreciate your time for being here, and I guess I just want to start off with just a little bit about yourself, so tell everyone who you are, what you do, and how did you get to where you are today.
Alexandria: Hi, Ahmed. Thanks for having me on the show. My name’s Alexandria Blaelock. I write books, and I have a blog. I’ve wanted to write books for a long time, but it’s one of those things that most people would like to do as children, and then, they grow up, and they get proper jobs, and they earn proper money, and get proper mortgages, and writing books isn’t always very good for achieving any of those grown up goals.ut for me, I had a kidney disease, and I became very ill before I had a kidney transplant, and I had to give up work, so when the kidney transplant came through, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that after being so sick, I needed to do something that was worthwhile.
But for me, I had a kidney disease, and I became very ill before I had a kidney transplant, and I had to give up work, so when the kidney transplant came through, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that after being so sick, I needed to do something that was worthwhile.
The kidney that I got came from a deceased donor, so somebody, presumably, that somebody else loved a great deal, had given me the gift of their continued life, and I wanted to make that something worthwhile, and I wanted other people to wake up and pay attention to their own lives, and to stop living in an autopilot, and to choose what they were gonna do next.
It’s going quite well, so far, but, I think it’s a bit of a shame that we all need to have something awful to really make us sit up and pay attention to what we’re doing, and to choose and accept.
Ahmed: And it’s a good point, because sometimes, you have to be someone that shake you to realise what you have right now is valuable, you want to make use of your time, and it took you something like this, a major, a major incident in your life, to make you think, I will want other people to think about what they’re doing with their time, and stuff like that, so it’s very, very interesting story. Very powerful story, so really, thank you for sharing that.Quite amazing to hear that, and one thing, when I look at your website, you’re displaying your perks, and I want to, with a quote that you’ve mentioned, and you said about your personal development books, describing how rational thought of our activities, like getting dressed and feeding your friends can lead to the kind of pleasure that makes life worthwhile, and it’s quite a philosophical way of thinking, isn’t, it, Alexandria? It’s really deep and powerful thinking about your own lifestyle.
Quite amazing to hear that, and one thing, when I look at your website, you’re displaying your perks, and I want to, with a quote that you’ve mentioned, and you said about your personal development books, describing how rational thought of our activities, like getting dressed and feeding your friends can lead to the kind of pleasure that makes life worthwhile, and it’s quite a philosophical way of thinking, isn’t, it, Alexandria? It’s really deep and powerful thinking about your own lifestyle.
Alexandria: I hope so, because everything that you do has a flow on impact in some way or other, and as people, we have a tendency to jump to negative conclusions about things, and if you’re in the jungle, running away from tigers, or whatnot, leaping to negative conclusions is absolutely the best way to stay alive, but if you’re sitting on the train and somebody is looking at you, it doesn’t mean that something negative is gonna happen.It might be that, gosh, they like your hair, or they might not be actually looking at you at all. They might just be coming up with strange and interesting thoughts about things. You wouldn’t sort of think that if you didn’t think that.
It might be that, gosh, they like your hair, or they might not be actually looking at you at all. They might just be coming up with strange and interesting thoughts about things. You wouldn’t sort of think that if you didn’t think that.
Ahmed: Yeah. It’s just what we’re saying before, about you wouldn’t think about it, until someone kind of pointed out to you, really, and so, it’s one of these things that someone needs to remind you about, because things we have in life, and stuff like that, and there’s nothing wrong with that, and I guess personal development books, I read a lot of them, and there are so many things that are so obvious that you need someone to point out to you, and when they happen to point it out to you, you’re thinking, wow, that’s such a good point. You understand it more. You realise it more.
Alexandria: You are exactly right. I used to say that all the time, that sometimes things are just so obvious that somebody has to tell you. You cannot see them for the … It’s like when you open the fridge and you’re looking for the mustard and it’s right in front of you, but you just can’t see it because it’s just not there, as far as you’re concerned, and I find, often, riding on the train, ’cause I do that a lot, that you overhear really interesting things, and in our modern times.o often you hear people talking about things that they don’t know anything about because their mother or their parents haven’t told them, because their parents have been working, and their grandparents haven’t told them because their grandparents have been working.o there’s generation’s worth of knowledge that has been lost, because there’s nobody to tell us, and I’m afraid I’ve been very naughty, because I tended to discount almost every single thing my mother ever said to me, because, she’s old, and she doesn’t understand, but actually,
So, often you hear people talking about things that they don’t know anything about because their mother or their parents haven’t told them, because their parents have been working, and their grandparents haven’t told them because their grandparents have been working.o there’s generation’s worth of knowledge that has been lost, because there’s nobody to tell us, and I’m afraid I’ve been very naughty, because I tended to discount almost every single thing my mother ever said to me, because, she’s old, and she doesn’t understand.ut actually, so there’s generation’s worth of knowledge that has been lost, because there’s nobody to tell us, and I’m afraid I’ve been very naughty, because I tended to discount almost every single thing my mother ever said to me, because, she’s old, and she doesn’t understand, but actually, there’s valuable relations that the could have given me, had I actually listened, so my book, I hope, in an attempt to bridge that gap.
But actually, so there’s generation’s worth of knowledge that has been lost, because there’s nobody to tell us, and I’m afraid I’ve been very naughty, because I tended to discount almost every single thing my mother ever said to me, because, she’s old, and she doesn’t understand, but actually, there’s valuable relations that the could have given me, had I actually listened, so my book, I hope, in an attempt to bridge that gap.
For example, how do you have a dinner party? If you’ve never seen your mother have a dinner party, if you’ve never been to a dinner party, you wouldn’t know what to do, and that book was written because I overheard a conversation on the train, and my Building a Signature Wardrobe book was kind of the fact that I had no idea how to buy clothes.When I had my kidney transplant, I dropped two dress sizes and had to figure out how to get dressed again, because I needed to buy everything, and it’s very easy to spend a lot of money on clothes that you don’t need, but if you can sit down and think logically about it, then you’ll have a better idea of what clothes you actually need, and what clothes you actually don’t.
When I had my kidney transplant, I dropped two dress sizes and had to figure out how to get dressed again, because I needed to buy everything, and it’s very easy to spend a lot of money on clothes that you don’t need, but if you can sit down and think logically about it, then you’ll have a better idea of what clothes you actually need, and what clothes you actually don’t.
Ahmed: And it’s kind of something that I don’t think about in the logical sense that you’re saying it, because I just buy it, so if you’re saying that there’s something that you should sit down and think about, maybe you read a book about it, it’s not something that anyone would think about immediately in their head, so it’s quite interesting that you say that the simple things in life, just a bit of guidance can make a big difference in your own lifestyle, and makes it all worthwhile like you said.
So it’s really interesting, ’cause I’ve never really read these kinds of books myself, as much as I love personal development books.I’ve never, ever thought about these kind of books, so I found that really, really interesting, anyway, so just out of curiosity, how many books have you written so far?
I’ve never, ever thought about these kind of books, so I found that really, really interesting, anyway, so just out of curiosity, how many books have you written so far?
Alexandria: I have two books that have been published. I’m just putting the finishing touches on one, which is about managing your money. It’s going to be called Holistic Personal Finance, and it’s about managing your money to fit your life, rather than fitting your life to the money that you have, which some came out of rumination about the global financial crisis.
Lots of people lost their jobs, and they didn’t know how to live anymore, and every time you hear personal advice or financial advice, there would always be something useful like take-out coffee or take your lunch to work, you know, brown paper bag.
Lots of people lost their jobs, and they didn’t know how to live anymore, and every time you hear personal advice or financial advice, there would always be something useful like take-out coffee or take your lunch to work, you know, brown paper bag.
All those sorts of things that on a service level seem like perfectly practical things to do, but if you don’t drink and you don’t smoke and you don’t eat chocolate, having a take-out coffee might be the only luxury that you have, so why would you give that up?
And if you were to ask me to give up coffee, well then, I would either punch you in the face, or get very cross, because that’s my thing, is to have a nice coffee when I go out, and if I’d been on the [inaudible 00:09:33] while I was thinking, I would have been there in the first class café ordering my coffee while the boat was sinking, because of course, I wouldn’t have been able to get into the café without the boat sinking.
To give people generic advice is ridiculous, but coming back to living your life by choice and retention, you’re the only one that knows whether you need to give up coffee, or whether you should stop drinking beer, or whether, maybe you should stop buying cheaper versions of French cheeses.You’re the only one that can make those decisions for you, and to have somebody who doesn’t know anything about you telling you how to get dressed, or what to eat, or what to do with your money is just ridiculous.
You’re the only one that can make those decisions for you, and to have somebody who doesn’t know anything about you telling you how to get dressed, or what to eat, or what to do with your money is just ridiculous.
Ahmed: I’m glad you’re saying that now, ’cause I’m trying to think in my life, what am I wasting my time on, what should I look into improving more and more, and yeah, I think I need to get a copy of your book to help me understand what am I doing wrong, or what can I do better. Not necessarily wrong. That’s really interesting.
The thing is, I imagine, for author like yourself, is that’s it’s a very competitive market out there for authors, regardless of what, you’re fiction, or nonfiction, and what genre you’re doing, and topic. It’s very, very competitive. So, how do you differentiate yourself from other authors?
Alexandria: It’s a little bit tricky to explain, because we all, all of it, every single person has their own way of expressing their thoughts and opinions, so the way I might explain to you how you should tie your shoelaces might involve rabbits and holes and something like that, whereas, the way you explain to me how to tie my shoelaces might involve straight lines and angles, or something different.Ahmed Khalifa: It makes sense, because I’m just trying to think in my head, what you’re saying is like, everyone has their own way of doing anything, and nobody can copy you, so your way of doing it is different from other people’s ways of doing it anyway, and the idea is that if people resonate with you more, and that’s kind of an angle that you go for, ’cause so many people, and I’m sure you’ve seen yourself, so many people try to replicate other people exactly 100%, and it’s not always the best idea, because they should always do what it feels right for you, what is your own strength. Use your own experience, your own style, because nobody can copy your own style, nobody can be you at the end of the day.
Ahmed: It makes sense, because I’m just trying to think in my head, what you’re saying is like, everyone has their own way of doing anything, and nobody can copy you, so your way of doing it is different from other people’s ways of doing it anyway, and the idea is that if people resonate with you more, and that’s kind of an angle that you go for, ’cause so many people, and I’m sure you’ve seen yourself, so many people try to replicate other people exactly 100%, and it’s not always the best idea, because they should always do what it feels right for you, what is your own strength.Use your own experience, your own style, because nobody can copy your own style, nobody can be you at the end of the day.
Use your own experience, your own style, because nobody can copy your own style, nobody can be you at the end of the day.
Alexandria: That’s exactly right. And it’s similar to when you go to school or to college that there’ll be some teachers or lecturers that inspire you, and make you want to go out and do wonderful and marvellous things because they can reach something that’s inside of you, and others just make you want to crawl under your desk and have a nap, or skip their lectures altogether, because their style or presentation doesn’t mean anything to you, so if I don’t contribute my … Well, actually, that’s a good point.It was explained to me in relation to something else, buying something is like going to a restaurant and ordering something from the menu, and you might go to the same restaurant every week, and this week, you might buy steak, and the next week, you might buy chicken, and then, you might regret that, so you might have steak the week after that, or you might try the fish special, but if you’re not on the menu, nobody can find you, and just because somebody doesn’t want you this week doesn’t mean that next year or five years, that they might not want you, so to get the word out there, they’ll be out there for a very long time, because copyright law being what it is, my book will be out there for the rest of my life, plus 70 years after it, assuming that the law doesn’t change in the meantime. So, that’s a really long time to have an impact on people. So, even if it’s not right now, it might be right later.
So, that’s a really long time to have an impact on people. So, even if it’s not right now, it might be right later.
Ahmed Khalifa: Very true. At the end of the day, it’s the classic case of a marathon or sprint kind of thing. Kind of applies to a lot of things in life anyway, so I think one thing that people should always think about is having that patience, really, because you kind of expect an overnight success in many, many cases, so I definitely agree with you on that, and you talked about making sure that you are getting yourself out there, and making yourself known, and just making yourself visible, and of course, one way of doing that is to become visible online, so with that in mind, we’re gonna talk about being online, having a website, you using WordPress. We’ll talk about WordPress over here. I’m curious, how did you come across WordPress in the first place? What was your experience like, and why did you end up choosing WordPress for your own site?
Alexandria: Right about the time that I was looking at setting up a blog, and my website started as something a bit different, initially, because I was going to use it as a sort of demonstration of adequacy, in terms of getting paid writing, which I’ve actually sort of segued into editing, and now, use the site just for my own writing, but over time, I didn’t really understand how they worked, so I was completing, as it turns out, unnecessary masters in project management, and one of the things I had to do with a research project at the end of it, partly to explain my understanding of how to run a project, and partly, to have an outcome, so for my research project, I looked into how I would start a blog, and what I would write, and what software I would use, so I did an amount of comparison between what I knew about websites, which was only what I knew from my subscriptions to other people’s websites, and as you’re aware, a lot of web posts have quite generous affiliate deals for web posting, so a lot of writers or bloggers will suggest that you should have a self-posted website, so that was what I had the greatest exposure to. I didn’t know that week was [inaudible 00:15:49] or any of those other ones.
I did a bit of research, found out about web host, and found out how it worked and came to understand where my blog would be placed and how it would work, and what my address was and that sort of thing, and I started with a free WordPress site. I expected it to be very difficult, because people said WordPress was very difficult, and it was a little bit, because my [inaudible 00:16:23] really just explains who’s using the Microsoft platform, and WordPress is nothing like a Microsoft setup, so it was a little bit hard to get used to, but it has its own internal logic, and I think a lot of people don’t really take the time to understand the logic behind the way that it works, and as a writer, I usually try to understand how things work, so that I can explain them simply and easily to other people, but I don’t know that I could change now.
Ahmed: It’s one of these things where in the beginning, people come across it, and it might be overwhelming for them, and it can put off some people, when they start from a clean slate, and they look at WordPress, for example, and having your own self-hosted WordPress site, and it gets a bit intimidating.
You think, you don’t know where to start, and, for some people, they just don’t want to touch it anymore, and they just step away from it, and never go back to it again, but, I guess, you just have to kind of bite your tongue and just go for it, and I guess most people always think that your first website or when you first publish anything, there should be absolutely pristine, perfect, and immaculate, and it’s never, ever the case. Every single website in the world will have some kind of fault. Doesn’t matter what it is. But it’s all about just get out there, get started, get your website.It doesn’t have to be WordPress.
It doesn’t have to be WordPress. Get a website, and just start it. Just start writing content on their blog, or even a landing page at first, and build from there. Just go for it, and what you said, you just act first. You do your research, you get an idea. At first, it’s maybe it a bit tricky, but you manage to get over the hurdle, really.
Alexandria: Yeah, I think a lot of people give up too soon, and particularly, in writing, because as I like to call it, it’s the long con. You’re not gonna make money overnight with writing. We’ve already talked about the copyright, and how long it might take for a book to break even, so in that sense, you’ve got to have a bit of patience and keep going. I do find that I get very frustrated at times because things happen, and because I really only know a little bit of surface coding. I don’t understand why they’ve happened, and what I find is that I have to pretty much have my backups on standby, so that every time I crash it, I can instantly reset it if I crash it a lot. I’m quite good at resurrecting.
Ahmed: That’s a good point. You talk about, when you’re writing, you should be doing it regularly, and you should do it in the long haul, and obviously, you said you’ve been blogging near the beginning. When you start your website, you were a regular blogger, and your website, you’re publishing blog posts, so what is your routine, when it comes to blogging? What kind of a routine do you have? How do you come up with topic ideas as well?
Alexandria: The blog exists to support the books that, in theory, that you’ll read the blog post, and you’ll think that’s really interesting, and you’ll sign up for my newsletter, and maybe you’ll think that’s really interesting, and maybe you’ll go out and buy my book, so in theory, it all works to drive book sales. It doesn’t always work that way, because if your web host isn’t very good, then your site isn’t gonna be readily available, and I’ve just recently had to swap my website from a poorly performing pace, to one which I hope is better performing. In one sense, I haven’t lost anything, because it sucked, but if I had a really good website that was … It was performing really well before I moved it the first time, so I regret moving it the first time. Anyway, besides the point. Because it’s got a purpose for supporting the books, I have a calendar, so I have a basic idea of where posts that support books will fit in amongst personal projects, and other things, so I have an idea of what’s gonna go where, but I try to publish two or three times a week.
I try to keep to a regular schedule. I have them set so that they’re all published at seven minutes past seven, in the evening, my time. I kind of like the 7:07 effect of it.
Ahmed: That’s really different. 7:07. That’s really interesting. So, what you’re saying, you have like some kind of an editorial calendar, as such.
Ahmed: Do you use it in the old fashioned pen and paper way, with the post-it notes, or do you use some kind of tool online to help you start creating and organising your calendar?
Alexandria: I’m afraid that I use post-it notes, and I have a notebook, and I do the old pen and paper. Part of my frustration about making computer things work kind of rubs off on a lot of the project management apps that are out there, and I can never quite find one that suits all my requirements, so I just use a glorified bullet journal, to keep things in order, so when it comes to my editorial calendar, I basically just have the months, and I will write, for example, one blog post each month, to support Stress-Free Dinner Parties, and there’s one each month to support Build a Signature Wardrobe. I have a project that I call project work while alive, which is like a public attempt to demonstrate how to make choices to live a worthwhile life. That is one post each month, with a progress report for that.
I’ve got plenty of spaces for rent and things that come up, and things that come up, and in response to other things. Theoretically, one of my goals this year is to have adventures, so theoretically, I’m writing a blog post each month for an adventure, but it’s been a pretty dramatic 2017 already, so I haven’t actually had much in the way of adventures. I really need to look into that, so I try to fit them into a regular routine, so if you’re particularly interested in something, then you’ll know that, for example, all the adventure posts come out at the end of the month, and all the progress reports come out at the beginning of the month, so you can either track into those particular ones that you want, or you might like them, and read the other ones, so it gives me a structure to work to, and sometimes, I’ll get really good ideas.
One of my friends decided she was gonna do a soup diet, which I don’t quite understand the logic behind a soup diet, but that’s fine. She’s gonna have a crack at it. So that made me wonder whether you could have a dinner party that was entirely made of soup, so my last blog post was about a stress-free soup dinner party. And a friend of mine was going on the trial walker, and has been explaining to me some of the gruelling activity, ’cause the trial walker is 100 kilometres in 48 hours, and she would be explaining to me the difficulties of walking through bushland and so on for that amount of time, and that made me think, maybe you could have a breakfast dinner party, so that’s a blog post that’s coming up in the future, so periodically, there’ll be things that I hear that will start ideas, or recently, ’cause I like to draw my pictures, where possible, from the state library, because they’re historical, and partly because they’re Victorian, and we’re Australian, and I came across a picture, which, unfortunately, was not linked back to the 1855 article that it was attached to, but it was a drawing of a kangaroo jumping into a restaurant, and it was subtitled, Jumping to Conclusions, or Jumping to a Conclusion, but that’s amazing.
So now, I’ve got a half-written post about how not to jump to conclusions, so the inspiration to write them comes from everywhere, so I have a structure which keeps me on point, and then, I have space for inspiration or reactionary moments that come up with some current event.
Ahmed Khalifa: I think it’s really cool that your inspiration and topic ideas, it’s just kind of all around you. It’s a good point. People will forget about what goes on around you, and how you could even just talk about it, or write about it, or even tweet about it. It’s one-of-a-kind content you do. There was something that you can say, where so many mediums you can use, so it’s really interesting that you use inspirations around you, use a journal and a sticky note. Frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that. I think a lot of people can resonate with you. I like to use, for example, Evernote, but everyone has their own style, so I don’t think anyone can criticise anyone about that, but it does make me think, you’re a bit of a content machine, really, because you get kind of constantly bringing different content ideas, and stuff like that, because you write books, and you’ve got your blog, and your newsletter. Do you ever find that, especially between the blog and your book, do you ever find that they can clash with each other? ‘Cause I know you said the blog is to support the book, but has there ever been a point where, contradict each other, or they class with each other? Or do you find that it’s kind of a nice relationship, and they work very well together?
Alexandria: I wish they worked better together. They’re like best arch enemies. They’re like a doctor and the master. They try to think of … The way I structure it is that the books are the most important, so in theory, there should book work that happens every day, so that might be editing or writing, and looking for research materials, or there should be some book going on every day, because I’m an author, but I try to batch my blog posts. In some ways, they’re like a bunch of advertising material, so I try to sit down and write them all in array, partly to get them out of the way so that they’re done, and scheduled to go out, and partly because that’s a whole part of my brain that can then be devoted to the book, so it would be nice to say, “Work better together.”
I’m a little bit afraid that at some point, there’ll be a time when I’ve got too many books to write blog posts for each of them and I’ll have to find a better way of managing them, but I think that might a while away first.
Ahmed Khalifa: That’s fair enough. It does sound like you’ve gone off and gone on, then. You’ve got your routine and technique and stuff like that. I’m interested to know, what is your biggest strength?
Alexandria: At this exact moment in time, my biggest stress is getting traffic to the website. As I mentioned, I’d recently moved, so I lost a lot of ground in terms of Google search responses, and I’m trying to get my SEO working a bit better, and trying to write a bit more relevant and trying to find those people that were keeping an eye on me, and commenting, and being in touch in the beginning, when I was on the free WordPress. It’s quite difficult, because marketing to write is in its own little pyramid scheme going on there, so a lot of the information that’s being sold to me has really good copyrighting but really bad content, or really, not quite right for me content, I suppose. I shouldn’t say that anybody else’s content is bad. Just not right for me.
And a lot of it’s also quite general. It’s either very specific for a writer at a particular pace in their career. It’s also Facebook Edge, or now, Amazon offers you the opportunity to buy paid advertising as well, so there’s an amount of that, and last year, I spent about $1500 and got about $300 worth of sales, so it didn’t seem like a really good investment at the time. With two published books and one on the way, I seem sort of more established, and I at least have the two books that can trigger sales for each other. I was actually a little bit surprised that my second book triggered extra sales of my first book, and I deduce that the third book will trigger sales of those as well, but they’re not … They’re related with the idea of making a choice and working by intention, but they’re not sort of directly related, that you wouldn’t immediately leap to the conclusion that a person who wrote a book about house sitting a party would write a book about how to build a wardrobe would buy a book about how to manage your money, so there’s not a lot of synchronicity between them, so in some ways, it’s like having three separate businesses trying to manage them and sell them, and now that I’ve got the new one, which I hope will come out in a few month’s time, I’ve gotta try and figure out how to give that priority, and how to market that one, which is quite tricky.
Ahmed: It’s definitely tricky. Don’t worry, I can understand what you’re saying, and I think a lot of people can understand what you’re saying, ’cause I was going to ask you, what is one of your biggest weakness, and you’re talking about bringing traffic to the site and stuff like that, and making everything sync together, and it’s very, very tricky, but something that you kind of develop a habit over time, and you get better at doing a bit of a task, once you do it over and over again. For example, a lot of people out there, there were things that, they are not a good writer. They did not know how to write. They just start writing regularly every week. After a year, or even less than that, but after a period of time, you’ll see that they got better and better at writing.
Ahmed: It kind of applies to your lot of different skills as well, so I can understand what you’re saying, and it’s very, very tricky, but it doesn’t mean that you give up. You just learn, and you apply, and then, you learn from mistake, and then, you apply again.
Ahmed Khalifa: It’s one of these things that I try to advise a lot of people to do. What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start their own books?
Alexandria: Just start. The people came to look at the end, not the beginning, and the beginning of writing a book is turning the computer on, and typing a few keys, or getting a pencil and writing on a piece of paper, and when you’re writing a book, you don’t have to worry about anything else at all. You just have to write. When you’re finished writing your book, then you can edit your book. When you’ve edited your book, you can decide whether you want to put pictures in it, or you can decide what you want to call it. You can decide whether you even want to publish it. You don’t have to publish. You can just keep it somewhere safe. We have a tradition … One of my friends belongs to, in her family, they have a book which is the story of their family, so some people try to say a family tree, but their family book has all the stories of people in it, so they’ve got a book that’s been going for decades, and has people in it, so even achieve is great, that tiny piece about her, or about her mother, or about her child, she’s written a book, and that book will never, ever be published, but she’s contributing a chapter to her book. She’s written something that’s very important to future generations.
So, it doesn’t matter what happens, where it goes, it doesn’t matter how big the book is, it doesn’t matter how short the book is. All that matters is that you just start writing.
Ahmed: Very good point. So, basically, just do it. Just start. At the end of the day, and I think it applies again. We just keep repeating ourselves. That applies to a lot of things in life. Just start somewhere. Just do it, and it’s funny, because my last question, as well, really is that: What advice do you have for anyone who is having trouble using WordPress or even starting WordPress. I’m going to guess you’re going to say, “Just do it. Just start.”
Alexandria: Well, I would say, take a backup. That’s what I would say. And bear in mind, too, that when you take a backup, the backup isn’t an exact snapshot of what your website looks like right now. There are little things that won’t necessarily translate back when you reinstall it, which I found a bit surprising, but as long as you do a backup before you start, you’re generally good, and I think I’m in that stage now, where I need someone, I need a service that I can call when things go wrong. You’re probably aware that, for example, [inaudible 00:33:45] plugin takes a really long time to run scan, and if your web host is not supportive of that, and the amount of bandwidth that it takes up to be, then you can find yourself cut off, and you can find your account throttled, so it would be great. This is my thing is I need to try and figure out how to get a web bench scan to finish, so I’m at that point where I need to accept that I have to find help, so a similar example would be that I don’t trust myself or Google to look after my transplant.
I go and see people who are trained and educated and know a lot about transplants to do that, so after a point, your website becomes a precious thing that you have to find someone that you can trust to help you take care of it.
Ahmed: It’s quite hard to do, when if you’re trying to find someone to help you with your website, and making sure that they have the right expertise and knowledge. That’s a very, very tricky thing to do, but I guess, the most important thing is make sure you have that knowledge in the first place. If you know what you want, you did your research, you got an idea, but you haven’t necessarily implemented it, at least that will give you a good starting point to know what you’re talking about, once you eventually find that person, and it’s true that in any case, eventually, you will need an expert to help you, and that includes myself. I am in no way or form am I an expert in everything related to WordPress. There are so many things that I need a special niche expert person to sort out for me, so it does apply to a lot of people, whether it’s for development or design or incorporating, or SEO, or whatever, and there are so many things that you could do to a website, where you feel like you need like a big team to manage your website, really.
But I definitely know what I would do is even if you don’t implement it, I would definitely read about it, get some research, get some knowledge about it, and then, you know what you’re talking about, when you are looking for that person, and talking to that person, so that would be my advice to everyone, really, who listens to the show. Everything you said, it makes sense. Whether you start using it, or you haven’t started it, doesn’t matter what stage you are, once you get that starting point, then you start adding things on top of it more and more and more, so you have to have good hosting. You have to have your security, and backup, and all these things. Then you get to plugins. It’s an ongoing journey. When you have a website, it’s never finished. Never, ever finished.
This has been very, very interesting. Really enjoyed talking to you. I probably could unpack more and more things to talk about, but I think you can go on for hours, so let’s not go on for hours now on end, but very, very interesting, and I really appreciate giving me a time, and your effort, and sharing your words with them, and I’m sure everyone else appreciates it as well, so just if anyone wants to reach out to you or connect with you, or find you, where can they find you?
Alexandria: The best place is to start with my website, which is AlexandriaBlaelock.com
I do have a presence on Twitter, but I find that I get really caught up in the writing, and I don’t check Twitter as often as maybe other people do. I like reading it, but I don’t always contribute, so you could Tweet me directly at @AlexBlaelock but I might not respond.
Ahmed Khalifa: [inaudible 00:37:29] Well, your site is a good starting point, so I’ll make sure I will include that into the show, and everyone can find it right there. Alexandria, thanks again for your time.
Alexandria: Thank you, Ahmed. It’s been a pleasure.
Ahmed Khalifa: And that is it. Thank you, Alexandria, again, for coming to the show. Really, really good, chatting to you, and I really appreciate your time, and sharing so many useful insights, and I’m sure we could have talked for longer, but I think we covered a lot today, so there are so many things that I picked up from this interview, from making the most of your time in the life, to differentiating yourself in the market, to using your surroundings as inspiration for your content source. These are all really, really useful stuff, and something that anyone who is running website could take onboard, so thank you for listening to this episode.If you want the
If you want the shownotes they are on IgniteRock.com/episode14 and I will have links and all the details and transcript to this show.
So, I just wanted to ask one more thing. If you could subscribe to my podcast on iTunes, that would be so, so awesome. It would really help me to reach more and more people about website, which is, ultimately, what I want to do. In the meantime, let’s rock with WordPress.