First Day Back at Panera

I made the choice to return to Panera Bread and my old and new coworkers. Today was my first day back, in shiny new non-slip shoes.

A couple things changed since I was there last: The panini presses were replaced with stone grills similar to the toaster in Subway. But with fancy stone and pizza-oven-like paddles for pulling sandwiches out of them. New food items!

I was looking forward to my favorite sandwich from last fall, the turkey cranberry flatbread. I was so excited about getting to eat it again, only to find out that it isn’t on the menu! We do have a new ham sandwich and a new Cuban sandwich. I haven’t tried the ham sandwich yet. I had the Cuban sandwich with extra slices of the sweet and spicy pickles for dinner, and it was really good! The garlic mustard and the delayed effect of the pickles paired with ham, pulled pork, and Swiss cheese was delicious!

Talking about the menu items makes me think of an idea for a blog post or several. Working at Panera, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the ingredients as well as what flavor combinations pair well together, and delicious modifications to the regular items. If you’d like a guide to the menu, what I like, how I modify it and why, comment below! I’d love to know you’re interested.

I learned how to make the new sandwiches and use and clean the new grills. I also noticed problems with how some of the new people are doing their work and plan to set an example to work on improving things.

The problems:

(1) The mid-shifters weren’t flipping pans every day. We’re supposed to get new pans and move the ingredients from their current pans into the new pans and make sure they have a current label telling when they expire. I made sure all the pans were flipped today, and I will continue doing that everyday I work.

(2) No one marked when the grills were cleaned. After my coworker and I cleaned the grills, I wrote in the little box for Thursday “Both” so the closer tomorrow knows both grills were cleaned. The boxes for earlier in the week are all empty. Hopefully other people will start marking when and which grill they clean.

(3) No one else takes all the supports in the bars to be cleaned. When we close, we put all the pans in the bar into the pull-out refrigerated drawers beneath the bar. I take out all the supports, including the four on the outside edges, to the dishwasher to be cleaned. When I asked the dishwasher if he’d rinse the long bars for me, he said he could, but no one had ever done that before. I plan to suggest to the other workers that they do that as well to improve the cleanliness of the bars.

I had a great first day back at Panera, and I’m sure I’ll have a great day tomorrow too!

Comment below if you’d like a post about the Panera menu items and what your favorite menu item is!

Be sure to check out my Patreon. By becoming a patron you can get early access to blog posts, a free e-copy of Inside a Writer’s Head, or even a signed copy of the physical book!

Choosing a Poetry Collection Organization Style

Last month after I finished organizing Inside a Writer’s Head, I shared what I learned from the experience. Before you pick an organization style, you should check that out. It has four things you should know about the overall process.

This post discusses some different styles or types or organization you could choose when creating your poetry collection.

One thing you should already know if you’re making a collection: The first and last poems, especially, need to be strong.

Topical

If your collection contains poems of a variety of topics, it could be useful, beneficial, or aesthetic to group them based on topic. You can then create defined or undefined sections in the collection as well.

A defined section would have a title, and an undefined section would not. Either way, you’ll want to open and close the section with a strong poem, just like opening and closing the collection.

In the case of Inside a Writer’s Head, I initally tried to have a topical organization based on the subcategories of themes. This didn’t work, in part because it’s a topical collection. This style works better with more than one topic.

Emotional

You can also organize the collection based on the emotion a poem creates in the reader. In the same way a novel shifts in emotions as it progresses and has ups and downs, you can an emotional “plot” with your poetry collection. To do this, first group your poems based on the emotions they evoke.

You can then weave the poems together based on similar lines, topics, etc. throughout the collection, keeping in mind the emotional journey you intend to take readers on. Plan the ups and downs and pick the poems that feel right in each place.

For Inside a Writer’s Head, I incorporated some of this. I placed some poems together to amplify humor, or emphasize certain feelings or reactions to the poems around it.

Lyrical

A possible organization, especially for a collection with a variety of topics, orders the poems so each poem repeats a theme, subject, word, or image from its predecessor. This could create a plot, or add to the emotional effect of the poems. By connecting them in this manner, you allow the poems to speak to each other, as it were, adding more insight or a divergent perspective on the ideas.

This can be an organization style on it’s own or be paired with a topical or emotional style.

Inside a Writer’s Head is largely lyrically organized, blended with some emotional influence, as I mentioned. That isn’t all I employed though. Which brings me to the next style.

Collage

A collage is a smattering of thoughts and images paired together in one place, seemingly or actually at random. They may or may not go together, but they create an effect based on how they are placed.

If you have a topical collection or a large disparity in the number of poems in different topical categories, a collage organization might work well. You can create a mix of the topics, not following a specific rotation of topics, but moving similar topics away from each other.

This is another thing I did for Inside a Writer’s Head. I had a lot of poems about not having inspiration or dealing with writer’s block. Far more than the number of those in the other subcategories I had created. In order to create more balance, I spread out those poems among the other poems. A couple of them are paired together, but they are a bit of a unifying theme in a collage.

 

These are four possible organization styles used in poetry manuscripts.

If you have any questions about these styles, Inside a Writer’s Head, or your poetry collection, leave them in the comments below! I’d love to talk to you about that.

31 Days of Blogging

Today makes 31 straight days of blogging everyday. This isn’t the first time I made it a whole month, but it is the first time I paid attention in order to point it out.

I had a few days where I was unmotivated or uninspired. I didn’t know what to write or I didn’t feel like writing or both. Those days were hard.

I had a lot of help with blog ideas from the Praxis program, and wrote about what I was up to in the program in addition to the deliverables.

Finishing my poetry collection turned into a deliverable to prepare for month two, and I wrote about that as well.

Overall, I think I did really well putting out daily content and putting my thoughts and ideas on this virtual paper. Running this blog, maintaining daily posts has helped me build my writing skills, given me a place to share thoughts, ideas, and creative writing I’ve done or am doing. It’s building a huge volume of work to look back on in the future and signaling my progress, my dedication, and my hardwork.

It also happens to be setting me up for module 3, the 30 day blogging challenge month.

It’s been a great 30 days and soon it’ll be a great 30 more.

(Also, for those wondering if they should bug me about the video I promised, I’m editing it right now. It will be up either tonight or in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.)

I was sick

Today I didn’t do much of anything.

I woke up at around 3:30 am to my stomach feeling funny, thought I needed to go to the bathroom, and threw up. I took some pepto to help settle my stomach, and it helped me get back to sleep.

I woke up that morning still feeling horrid, so I called off work and went back to bed. Dad made me some toast and later I got a small bottle of Sprite out of the basement. For most of the day I was in bed, I ate two pieces of toast and some pretzels until dinner.

I spent a few hours up out of bed while my boyfriend visited and my family had dinner, then I went back to bed. I tried to help clean the kitchen, and mostly did so, until I felt nauseous and had to lay back down.

Hopefully I feel better tomorrow.

A Review/Shoutout

As you probably know, I’m publishing a poetry collection called Inside a Writer’s Head very soon. One important part of a book or ebook is the cover. I was strapped for time and while I could make my own book cover, I thought I’d be better off hiring someone else to do it.

I’m glad I did!

I worked with Jacob Beman, a fellow Praxian, who designs and sells apparel. He did a fantastic job! He sent me a few different versions of what I said I wanted, then created a second draft based on what I liked. His work was great and he was really nice and helpful the whole time!

The Difficulty of Video Making

Today I recorded and uploaded a draft of an “About Me” introduction video. I spent 40 minutes recording for a minute and a half video to get a decent cut.

I think I need to reshoot. My background is too busy and my volume is too quiet.

I’ll probably spend another 40 minutes trying to get it right, and then another long period of time recording another short video.

The next time you watch that amazing, three minute video on Youtube and think you’d like to be a Youtuber, think about the time. If you have experience on a camera it may take less time, but if you’re not comfortable or experienced, expect to have at least three different full-length versions of your message. With that you’ll probably just be close to what you wanted.

I had a lot of false starts, moments where I was not saying what I wanted to say or got off track, and forgetting what I was saying in the middle of my sentence. I had notes too! Very brief, but I had a reference for the different main points I needed to hit.

It’s difficult, but with practice I could grow to enjoy it, be comfortable, and do it more often than once in a blue moon because I “have to.”