Apprenticeship Week 11

Alyssa shares the work she’s done over the last week for projects at her job and outside of it, both part of her apprenticeship.

This has been a really long, but productive week.I’m exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been feeling too sick to drink coffee. Not that having caffeine will help me sleep, but that my lack of sleep is making the work day feel longer and caffeine helps me wake up and get to it.

Projects this Week

Work

I’m still stuck on the APS rep project. I’m keeping up with the incoming emails every day, though, so what little I do beyond that is making progress towards completion. I’m still behind, but when I finish the backlog, I will be on top of the project.

I knew that I owned the Parts Trader and automated CCC orders that come in, but I didn’t know the full extent of it until yesterday. For some reason, almost all the automated CCC orders that came in went to everyone’s spam folders but Herb’s. (Herb is the sales manager, for anyone who doesn’t know.) When we realized they’d gone to spam, there were about ten that needed to be processed all at once. Normally, I would deal with them throughout the day. Instead we all shifted to taking care of those.
Herb said, though, that he had stopped thinking about the CCC orders because I always take care of them. He doesn’t bother asking if someone saw the CCC orders that came in because I always do.
One of the things I wanted to accomplish was taking responsibility of other people’s plates so they could focus on more important tasks. I am actively doing that.

I also own the eBay orders, now, too. They come in and I send a message to the customer asking if they have the VIN so I can verify we’ll be sending them the right parts. I make their address listing under the EBAY SALES account in Salespad, mark it as the ship to and bill to address, and write the invoice for the part they ordered. Even if the customer doesn’t get back to me in a timely manner so I can verify the match, I take care of the back-end of shipping it to them.

My knowledge of processing eBay orders came in handy early this week. (I think it was this week. If I’m mistaken, it was late last week.) We’re slowly starting to do drop-ship orders through parts recyclers. One company called in to have one of our parts shipped to a shop. We set up the invoices the same as for eBay orders. The shops who are receiving the parts are set up as ship to addresses under the parts recycler’s account in Salespad. We invoice the recycler, the recycler invoices the shop.

Personal

I’m on a roll with daily writing. I’m using Blurt to do most of my writing, and I made a Google sheet to track my daily writing. Since July 8, I’ve written every day and logged over 12000 words!

I haven’t done any work on the new poetry collection I started.

I’ve written almost every day for the new novel I started. Since July 8, I missed three days.
I created a few documents in Blurt under the “New Novel” project, some for brainstorming and keeping track of details, some for different scenes. Three of the docs will have multiple related scenes in them, so that when I go to piece things together I’ll have categories of scenes instead of a billion documents with individual scenes in each one. I might get some documents that are short stories with the characters, but right now I’m just writing scenes. I’m still getting a feel for the main character and a couple side characters. Because I don’t know where the story starts, and I’m trying to write non-linearly, I’m floundering a bit. I’m writing whatever strikes my fancy with the characters and creating new characters as needed.

I launched my first Fiverr gig this week! I shared links to it on Facebook, Twitter, and the two Slack groups I’m in. I haven’t been hired yet, but I’ve taken two tests of Fiverr to help my profile look more attractive. I also added the Fiverr gig (and a version of the gig through this Google form) on my commissions page.

Conclusion

I got a lot done this week! I found out how valuable I am at work when things went a bit awry, and I made progress towards my personal goals and the next steps I want to take.

Apprenticeship Week 9

A snapshot of some mental health from the last couple weeks as well as some project updates and announcements.

This is late. I should not be writing this on Monday, but here I am.Not a lot happened last week. I don’t know if that’s a skewed look at the week, but I think it is. I’m going to do something I haven’t done in these posts so far. And that’s discuss some of the more mental side of things. I don’t have a lot to say for how I tangibly spent the week, but I do know that I spent it.

Work and Mental Health

I’ve talked about struggling with mental health here and on Over the Invisible Wall (which has sadly died). What I haven’t done is give a glimpse into its affectations in the present. Everything I’ve previously discussed wasn’t so now.

For the first month, I was on an emotional “I’m getting my life together!” high, and it was fantastic. I was sad to leave Panera because of the friends I’d made, but I was also moving forward.The last couple weeks have blurred and have felt the same. I feel disjointed, almost, seeing the positives of the steps forward but also feeling like I’m standing still. I see the work I’m doing at Original One Parts, but then a cloud obscured my motivation. It doesn’t feel like drudgery, exactly, but it appears like a huge, monstrous project to slog through. I see the paradox of what I’m writing. That it isn’t what it is. And maybe that’s me trying to stay optimistic. Because there’s definitely trends to suggest that’s been a struggle of mine.

And these last couple weeks have been new instances of the same old winds.

Personal Projects

This weekend I decided to start my next poetry collection. Coincidentally it is one presenting a lot of the darkness I went through, mostly not super recent. The darkness lately hasn’t been as dark or as long lasting, for which I’m thankful. It’s going to be a sensitive, difficult collection both for me to make and for people to read. I think it will be good, though, to publish it, because it could help shed light on what it’s like to be depressed and even suicidal. It’s not pleasant, like Inside a Writer’s Head, but by being able to see and start to understand the darkness, it could make it easier to help people who are struggling with it.

The second project I only just settled on last night. It was a difficult decision, but I’m putting Mystical Warriors on hold. I’m going to start a new novel. I am not going to share what it’s about yet, though. This one will be a surprise.

The main worry I have in starting a new novel is that I will run into the same problem I’ve always had, which is that I get tired of the idea. I managed to fall in love with Mystical Warriors, become “obsessed” with my own world and story enough to spend time writing. I got over 30k words. But then I didn’t write for a long time, and I feel disconnected from the story. I’m going to combat this by writing every day in Blurt. I’m not going to write the story in order, because that has proved difficult. Rather, I’m going to write short bits and pieces and scenes as I desire to and sort of cut and paste them together later. Almost like a collage. If it works, I plan to take this approach with Mystical Warriors when I return to it, too.

New Years Resolutions Faltering Already?

I started out the year strong, eager to jump into my goals. I felt a bit worn from constant work and pushing myself a lot these last few months, but I was excited to start the new year. It wasn’t going to be a “new year, new me” type of deal, but more “I’m going to get to work finishing what I started.” I want to do a lot this year.

Already I’ve slipped off. I started forming a habit, writing in my novel every day and reading every day in addition to blogging every day, but I slipped. I have an excuse, my mom’s friend was visiting and took over my room and I didn’t sleep well on the couch. But it’s still an excuse. I could have hoarded my time a bit more and written or read. Could have but didn’t.

I have the rest of today and all of tomorrow to get back on it. If I write and read extra the next few days I’ll catch back up to where I wanted to be. Heck, it’s my day off so I should get ahead. I only have one other thing I have to do tomorrow, so I’ll have time. No excuses!

Happy New Year!

It’s already 2019! It’s always crazy how quickly the new year comes. Time seems to be flying by faster and faster.

I have a lot planned and a lot of big goals for this year. I’ll be writing for this blog and Over the Invisible Wall and working on my novel! That plus Praxis is going to be insanely busy, but I know I can figure it out.

The Mingling of Inspiration and Goals

This whole blog has a lot of unplanned content written when I sat down to write. I’ll readily acknowledge that this is one of them. But I had some great ideas while driving home, and that inspiration led to the idea for this post.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how I experience inspiration. This idea is similar but is specifically on the intersection of inspiration and goals.

On the drive home I suddenly realized I wanted to write a sequel to The Diary of Kaashif Sarwan. I recognized despite my excitement, though, that if I want to finish my novel, I need to focus on that first. This idea is thrilling and has more appeal because it’s shiny and brand spanking new. But I committed to myself that I would finish my novel.

My approach to this dilemma is two-fold. On one hand, I won’t be giving up my goal of finishing my novel in 2019. On the other, I may allow myself to start the new stories after I finish the short story I started and in addition to any daily work on my novel I’m doing. Because I have a big goal and I’m sticking to it, I have to be strict with myself. I want to do both, but I have prioritized one over the other.

Inspiration has at least initially fueled all my story ideas, but it doesn’t decide what I do when. I wrote down the ideas I had, so I will more easily recall inspiration when I’m ready.

Maintaining Dedication

I’ve been working on and off on my novel-in-progress for three years. Even for such a long time and spread out work, I haven’t quit.

I decided that I would finish this novel. Even if I decide it is terrible and I hate it, I will finish it. I will take it from an empty page to a published novel.

I committed to finishing it.

Not for my friends or my family or anyone else. For myself.

I’ve had a lot of trouble finishing large projects.

Four years ago I started crocheting a baby blanket for my cousin’s daughter. I never finished it.

Between the ages of twelve and fifteen I started countless stories that were intended to be novels. I have finished none of them.

I realized I had a problem. I start projects but don’t finish them.

So I went through all my novel projects and ranked them from highest to lowest current priority. I decided I would focus my efforts on the first project on the list, then the second, and on.

That was two and a half years ago, and I’ve made great progress. Mystical Warriors, my novel-in-progress, is over 30,000 words. That’s the longest of any writing project I’ve ever had.

What made the difference was a commitment to myself.

I decided that I had to do this, that it was going to happen. I am not willing to give up no matter the obstacles. I will finish this novel. Even with it on the backburner, I know I will be coming back to it.

I prioritized my projects such that I have no excuse for working on a new novel that would prevent me from finishing this one.

For a long time, I had a daily writing habit that included my novel. I wrote at least one sentence in my novel every day. That has fallen off, but I will be reviving that practice. I keep making excuses for why I haven’t done that yet, and I need to stop.

I stayed dedicated to this project over the last three years because I committed to it for myself. I maintained my commitment by focusing my time and energy on the project. I remind myself of my obligation to myself by writing blog posts about it and talking about it. I also take my novel with me on vacation to write in the car or during down time.

I need to reprioritize my projects, not just my novels, but my short stories and worldbuilding too. I will be incorporating progress on my novel into my daily habits. I want to say “after I finish x,” but I should start tomorrow. No more excuses, I need to deliver on this commitment.

The Journal: 22 May 2017

This is a new series comprised of past journal entries I wrote followed by some current thoughts about it, if I have any. The reason for sharing a particular entry will vary. Some may be recorded story ideas, interesting events from my past, or some weird or fun thought I had that I wrote down.

There is an extent to which the way you write tells the world a little something about how you read. I, for example, write very much as though the events are happening and I’m recording them as they do — almost like writing a book based on a movie, only better. The words are meant to be very visual, the reader should see in their mind the events as they unfold, watch as the characters move around, listen as they speak. It’s almost as though Mystical Warriors was meant to be a movie script but I wrote it in plain prose.


I think this was inspired at least partially by my friends telling me the opening scene for my novel-in-progress felt very much like a movie scene.