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.

Apprenticeship Week 7!

This was not supposed to come out before the post I’m writing about week 6/FEEcon. But here we are.Last week I only worked two days and the rest of the week was spent at or preparing for FEEcon. This week I worked about 8:40 or 8:45-5 and today I worked 8:40ish to 6.

Projects:

I have some work and “personal” projects happening this week and going forward.

Work:

Before I went to Atlanta I was assigned a project inputting old customer feedback into the Salespad CRM tab. There were probably close to 300 lines in the spreadsheet. Now there are about 10, all instances that I couldn’t find the account it went to. I searched using the name of the body shop first, but some, like Fender Mender, Caliber, Service King, and ABRA have too many shops to find with the main part of their name. Then I tried searching the invoices using the shop name and looking at the invoices from around the time of the feedback. Nothing matched. Everything that did match is up to date and recorded.

Today the main manager, Josh, showed me a new project he needs me to do. It’s massive and will take me quite a while to get through. He connected me to a folder in his inbox containing lists of shops that APS representatives visit in the various city-specific markets we’re targeting. I have to record the number of shops visited in the market on the specific day and update the information we have about each shop in the APS spreadsheet, Salespad, and Hubspot.

I’ve decided to tackle the project in what is hopefully as efficient a manner as possible.

  1. I sorted the emails by sender so I’m only dealing with a certain set of markets at a time. I check if it’s a days list or a weeks list of visits. I count the number of shops and divide by the days if necessary. I put the number(s) in the correct box(es) on the APS visit count sheet.
  2. Then I go to the sheet with the market’s shop list, find each of the shops from that email and check them against Salespad for information. I’m not creating the missing accounts yet.
  3. I categorize the email in Outlook with the green “Complete” I created as well as the market label. If/when someone else becomes the owner of this project in the future, it will be easier for them to see what was put in the sheet and which market the information belongs to. The Complete label also prevents me from forgetting which emails I’ve already processed the information for.
  4. When I finish the emails about APS visits and possibly the other emails that I need to ask about Monday, this will be the next or last step: Go through each of the market shop lists and make sure there are matching, up to date Hubspot and Salespad accounts for them.

Personal:

I realized the other week when the creator of Blurt, Corey Gwin, was the guest speaker for the Praxis Wednesday call that I needed to get back to writing regularly.

Then at FEEcon, I lamented the fact that I had not been working toward my writing goals while taking notes in the Creative Track breakout sessions I attended. (More on that to come in my post specifically about FEEcon.) I also got an idea for a new blog. I haven’t talked about my idea for that blog with anyone yet, so while I definitely plan on starting it, I want to get some feedback first.

I’ve also decided to take a different approach to writing my novel — I want to try writing a bunch of short stories that take place at various points of the story and then stitch them together. With this I could either publish it as a sort-of-disjointed-but-connected set of short stories or use this to circumvent the problems I’m having with what comes next. I have some idea what needs to happen, but I’m struggling with the immediate next steps for the characters. This would allow me to skip to wherever I want to write and come back.Basically, I will be getting back into writing.I’m probably going to do some design work for a media business my dad and cousin are trying to start. They have a flier my cousin paid someone on Fiver to make, and I told my dad about Easil. Once I get a hold of making writing a habit and becoming more productive, I want to practice design again by making my own blog post images.

Other Updates:

I found out on Friday that my car totaled so I’ve been taking the MetroLink to get from IL into St. Louis almost right next to where I work. I learned today that it’s more dangerous than I realized. I knew there were some questionable stops, but at the station nearest my work, someone was shot recently. So I will definitely not be taking the Metro any longer than I need to. Because I was rear ended a couple weeks ago, I’ve had to learn a lot. I interacted with insurance, an ABRA from a customer side, applied for a loan, looked for a car, and tomorrow I’m going to look at some cars I found.

Conclusion:

It’s been a really crazy week, but it’s been good. A lot is happening, and while it can be a mixed bag sometimes, I’m enjoying the ride and looking forward to the adventures that await.

“At the Beach” (Poem)

A fine, gritty powder
beneath my feet,
A cool, wet, salty foam
lapping at my ankles,
A wetting yet thirsty spray
breathed into my mouth and nose,
A rhythmic whoosh, impatient yet calm
echoing through my ears,
A bright yellow light and soft green-blue
colored in my mind by my eyes.

“[Headache] Nature’s Torture” (Poem)

Tonight at work I got a migraine, likely from stress. The drive thru was short one person for a good portion of the night and we were busy. I pushed through, not just finishing my shift, but doing the best I could despite the pain.

For that reason, I decided to share a poem I wrote that captures my experience with migraines. It was originally written in March 2016 but it fits tonight very well.


My head’s almost dead,
Throbbing and crying out
in pain with every
movement that I make.

When, oh when
will this torture
cease? When will
life return to the
now-ruptured peace?

The painkiller was
ineffective, inert,
as I expected ‘twould be,
The waves of pain and pressure
steadily increasing.

The torture won’t stop,
it’s hooves continue to clop,
clop, clop, moving onwards yet
nowhere but circles in my
brain, nearly driving me
insane with the increasing pain,
discomfort, and pressure.

How much longer can I handle
this Headache without breaking down?

“Robin Hood’s First Theft” (Poem)

A short narrative poem by Alyssa Wright about Robin Hood’s first attempt at thievery.

The time had come when
Stealth was now an order,
thought from whom cannot be said.
This was the test,
Would he be able to put into practice
all that he had prepared?
The archery was surely safe,
no contest to be found.
Sure-footed, strong, senses heightened,
He was ready for the job.
Up a wall,
In a window,
Past the guards,
Through the door,
Reach under the pillow,
Grab the key,
Run out the door, down the hall,
Turn the corner,
Unlock the vault,
Steal the treasure.
Before the night was gone,
the treasure was no longer in his hands,
Having been delivered through the windows
of the houses of the poor.


This narrative poem was originally written in January 2015.

If you like this, be sure to check out my other poetry, in the Poetry blog category, and subscribe to my blog! I post every day, and lately I’ve been posting a lot of poetry.

First Value Prop

The details of Alyssa Wright’s first value prop, for Fundera.

Last week I created my first value prop for Fundera. They’re a business that helps other businesses get funding, make financial decisions, and learn about running or starting a business.

I wrote on my blog about learning SEO to write an article for them. I also learned about crowdfunding to dissect the pros and cons of using it. Both of those articles can be found here.

I had a lot of fun writing those two articles for Fundera. I learned a lot about SEO and crowdfunding, and I pushed myself to write quality articles in a short amount of time. I did all my research and all my writing for those two 1500+ word articles in only ten days total.

It was a bit stressful at times, but I pushed through to completion.

This week I’m working on my second value prop. I’ll share the details on that next week.