Today’s Poems

I’m back! It’s been a very long time since I wrote a blog post. For those of you who are returning to my website, you may notice that I have a new url and my name has changed. I’m trans, my name is Alex. I plan on writing about that because I think it’s important for me to do that for myself.

Right now, though, you’re here to read poetry. So on with it!


Adulting Sucks

It’s been almost four weeks
and I still feel like I’m dreaming,
disconnected from what’s happening.
But at the same time
it feels too real,
Reality’s cold, sharp nails
digging into my skin
making me long for
the childlike carefree nature
I doubt I ever had.
Adulting sucks
but I control my own destiny
far moreso than ever before.

Disassociating

I’ve been swimming
these past three weeks,
nearly drowning in disassociation
and gulping and gasping for breath
just before I’d have drowned,
my body floating up
lifeless and blue
forever separated from my soul.
Who am I?
Am I me?
Is this happening to me?
That is my body, isn’t it?
But where am I?
Three weeks I’ve nearly drowned,
lost from my own life,
disconnected from my own experiences.

Apprenticeship Week 13

Alyssa shares what she’s been working on this past week, both at work and outside it.

I mentioned in my post last week that I was halfway through my apprenticeship. I learned as a result of that one sentence that my blogs have not gone unnoticed. Herb asked if I was planning on leaving at the end of my apprenticeship. It was a fair question.While, yes, I am halfway through my Praxis apprenticeship, and only 11 weeks from graduating the program, I am not planning on finding a new job at that time. I’m slowly working towards my freelancing and general writing goals, but I also don’t see myself coming to the end of my apprenticeship learning all I can from my role at Original One Parts.

Projects

Original One Parts

I had that conversation with Herb, which was unexpected, but obviously not bad. For that reason, this week I want to look at the work I’m doing and some of the other places I’ve seen that I can create value and learn a lot.

APS Reps/Action Alerts

I’m still very much drowning in this project.I’ve logged all the visits and shops for July. I’m starting to log August. I finished June and most of May for one rep, and I’m halfway through June for all the reps.

I still haven’t even started the action alerts.

When the project needs managed and I’m not spending all of my time around calls and orders on it, I will count it as finished.

Other Work

On Thursday, Parts Trader stopped working. This time it wasn’t our autoquote system or on our end, it was Parts Trader. At first it was busier than normal, but manageable. In the afternoon it started piling up. When I left, there were nearly 400 overdue quotes. When Herb came in the next morning, there were over 1300. It was a huge mess, but once Parts Trader came back on and started working properly we were able to knock out the remaining quotes and get it back to normal.

Everyone else in the office was doing follow up calls to accounts who haven’t ordered in at least a couple months. I took care of some of the call backs. Herb assigned me to one customer who wanted a specific sales rep to talk to for parts.

I learned how to take wheel orders, and now I have the email of the person we go through to process those. I have to get information from the customer about the vehicle and the wheels to send to the guy who gets us the information about the price and if we can supply a wheel. Once I get the information about pricing and availability I call the customer back to let them know if we can supply the wheel and what their cost will be. For both of the requests I took, our price was too high, but I couldn’t go low enough because of our cost to get the wheels.

Potential Future Work

I mentioned in some previous posts that I want to help with some marketing work for Original One Parts. Kyle is the whole marketing team, and he’s talked about having too much to do and getting random work put on his plate. If I get to a point with my own work where it is possible, I want to take on some of Kyle’s excess work.

In that same vein, Herb was talking about how we should have different content for LinkedIn that is better for the business-work nature of the platform. He specifically said that articles about the automotive industry that connect to our business but are also informative for people working in the industry would be a good choice. That most definitely caught my attention, and when I catch up with the APS rep and action alert project, I plan on talking to Josh about writing articles for the company LinkedIn.

Personal

From July 8 to July 26 I wrote every day, then I also wrote July 31. All in all, I wrote 21,055 words from July 8 to July 31. That’s 24 days, giving me an average of just over 877 words per day. I’m hoping to beat that this month. So far I have 3584 and it’s only August 4. So far that’s an average of 896 and I haven’t finished my writing for today.

Poetry

I wrote a few poems over the last couple weeks, but I have been neglecting my poetry collection. I still need to add all of the poems into the document so I can start organizing them.

I want to be writing poetry every day, but I’ve only written anything 5 times from July 8 to August 3.

Adventures in Meldrick

This is the card game I am developing.

I paused working on this for a very long time, in favor of other projects. Then a close friend of mine was over a couple weeks ago and we were talking about some card design. She’s volunteered to help with some of the design work and she’s helped me beta test the game some too.

After we hung out and had been talking about it, I wanted to start working on the game again. I played the game with my younger brothers a couple times, introduced some new cards, and experimented with the rules to make the game more playable.

The main problem with the game right now is that it takes too long to finish. None of the games I played were ended because someone won, it was always because we ran out of time, someone got bored, etc. Before I can even think of publishing the game, I need it be realistically playable. I know some of what I need to do for that to be the case, but then I have to rigorously test it.

Freelancing

I have not been hired. The Fiverr gig is active, and I have views and page visits, but I haven’t had any customer communication.

I haven’t shared the gig again yet, which I am planning to do. I didn’t want too much of the content on my social media to be advertisements for the same gig.

I talked about starting a couple other gigs but I haven’t done it yet. I have two ideas:
1. Social media graphics for blog post featured images. The base package would be for an image sized for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The upgrades would include versions for more than just one platform.
2. Poetry collection organization. I have experience organizing and formatting a poetry collection from when I self-published Inside a Writer’s Head. I could help someone else do that for their collection. I’m holding this one for now because I want to finish the organization of my second poetry collection before I do someone else’s.

Conclusion

Life is, as always, moving at breakneck speed. There’s a lot happening, but I’m setting my pace to reach my goals in my own time – but also not in a procrastinating, wasteful manner.

Apprenticeship Week 12

Alyssa shares an update of the work she’s done over the last week.

It’s been another week somehow. It does not seem like it should be week 12 of my apprenticeship, either. I’m already almost to then end of three months, which is halfway. Wow! I knew time would fly but I was not prepared for it to fly this fast.

Projects

Over the past week I’ve continued working on the myriad projects I’ve been discussing in the last couple of posts.

Work/Original One Parts

APS reps/Action Alerts

I have been working on the APS rep/action alert project for five weeks now. It is tedious and often dreadfully dull, but I’m slogging through it. I’ve kept up with the incoming emails, and I’m slowly making progress through the old morning emails.
I want to say “soon I’ll be moving on to the action alert part of the project and just manage the morning emails.” But I have a long way to go. I’m focusing on the emails from February to June because those are the ones I have to log the number of shop visits for. Once I get through those, I’ll only have to update the market databases to include all the shops visited. There’s still so many steps to this project. I’m making progress, but it’s going to take a long time to finish the first step. And then I have another part of the project that I haven’t even started on.

Other Work Things

As far as other things go, I’m more efficient at processing online orders. I always process orders in exactly the same way.

  • For Parts Trader orders, I pull up the shop account in Salespad using the zip code and open the invoice window under that account.
  • Then I put the VIN in the invoice notes, then I put it in our customer service portal so I can check the parts being ordered.
  • I put my initials into the invoice sales rep box, select the correct shipping method, the platform, and the insurance company.
  • Before I go under the vehicle in the customer service portal to verify the part fitment, I copy the vehicle year, make, and model information into the invoice notes.
  • Then I put the PO or RO into that section of the invoice.
  • I run the sku number through Salespad’s inventory function to make sure we have the part and see if it’s in the St. Louis or Dallas warehouse. Depending on where the shop is, sometimes I want to see if I can send it out of Dallas, other times I have to send it out of Dallas. As long as we have the part, I proceed. If we don’t have the part, I skip the rest and call the shop to tell them I’m rejecting the order on Parts Trader and why.
  • I then add the sku to the invoice and save it.
  • Then I check the contact name as listed on Parts Trader. I use that when I add the order to the daily sales log.
  • After I add it to the sales log, I confirm the order on Parts Trader, and move on to the next order or task I have to complete.

I follow a similar process for the CCC and eBay orders, too. There’s some different particular steps based on the platform, but it’s always the same. Doing it the same way every time allows me to be as efficient as possible so I can move on to other tasks.

Freelancing

I opened a gig last week on Fiverr for proofreading/editing/constructive criticism. I haven’t been hired. I’m going to do some research to learn how other people got started freelancing on Fiverr. That might help me get the gig to take off. I tried offering a special deal to Praxis participants, but that went nowhere. I’m planning to offer a deal to people who follow me on social media in exchange for a review afterwards, but I haven’t initiated it yet.I’m also considering opening a gig to organize other people’s poetry collections. I might hold off until I finish the new poetry collection I started, though, just to not juggle my personal projects and freelance projects any more than I have to.

Personal

I separated this from the freelancing projects/progress because while, yes, freelancing is a personal project, it’s also something I’m trying to start professionally. This category is everything else.

Poetry Collection

I did a little bit of work on my upcoming poetry collection this week. I added about six or seven more poems to the Google doc. I still have two notebooks to sort through and a Google doc I started writing poetry in.

New Novel

I’ve written about every other day in the novel I started and every day in the journal I’m writing in Blurt. I’ve learned a lot more about a few of the side characters and started to get some ideas for more scenes. I have more material to draw on for inspiring more scenes, some of which I might not write from the perspective of the main character. I ran into a writing prompt that was something like, “write about the happiest day of your life,” so I’m having all of the characters do that. I learn more about the character, their voice, and I get to have fun with it! It can be anything. Even if it doesn’t make it into the novel, I’ll have a collection of every characters’ best day.

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 10

How has it been another week? Less than a week since my last post, even! And I turn 19 in two days!

Projects This Week

I got back into the swing of things and I’m getting motivated again! I had a rough couple weeks but I’m coming back with a vengeance – towards obstacles to getting work done.

APS Rep Project

This week I made some good progress on the project Josh assigned. I described some of the specifics of the project in the posts about the previous couple of weeks.
Each day I’ve been dealing with new incoming emails from the various reps. This allows me to keep the visit log up to date so it can be used for decision making as far as which reps to keep. As per Josh, that’s why we’re logging all the visits. Which makes sense. We get a monthly report from each rep for the market they manage, but if we can see at a glance how many visits they made as well as how much money they made us, we can make better decisions. I make sure to stay on top of the incoming emails so when I finish the old emails I can manage the project instead of being constantly behind.
I feel like I’m drowning in the project now, but I don’t want to stay drowning when I should learn to swim. Additionally, when it comes time for someone else to take over the project for any reason if there’s only upkeep, it will be far easier and more seamless.

I finished going through the emails for another rep. I still have a lot of markets to go through. I made a graph/checklist thing to help me stay motivated by having a visualization of my progress on the current phase of the project. It’s maybe silly, but filling in a little box for what month the emails were from when I finish going through them is satisfying. I plan to make more graph/checklists for the next phases of the project, too, since it’s helping with this one.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I have a notebook with three sections, lined, blank, and graph. I should take it to work. Once I use up the legal pad I currently have it could be useful to have the graph paper and the lined paper.

Writing Projects

I’ve been using Blurt to write. It’s a really awesome tool. It has word-processor features but it’s built to be a place that facilitates writing. You can blur the words so you can’t read what you’ve written until you’ve finished writing, which can help you keep your brain in create-mode and prevent you from switching to editing mode. This task switching can kill creativity and make writing so much harder than it needs to be. If you can’t keep it from happening yourself, using the blur feature could be a game changer. (There’s also a free website that just blurs your writing while you write so you can’t edit it.) Then when you’re done writing, you can turn on the editing help, which points out sentences that may be difficult, words that could be overly complicated, adverbs, and passive voice. (If you want this feature for free, try Hemingway Editor.) I like that you can set writing goals for various projects and have email reminders to write on every writing day.

I’ve made three projects in Blurt.
One of them is for blog posts, and right now the goal is every Friday. Every day I write 500 words in this project, I reach my writing goal and add to my writing streak. Any Friday I don’t write, my streak resets to zero.
The other projects are my personal journal and the novel I just started. Both of those are set to daily goals. I have to write every day for the streak count to go up, and any day I miss resets the count. Today will be day 5 for my journal and new novel, and day 2 for blog posts.
I’ve started tracking my daily writing, because Blurt tracks the days I met my goal but not how many words I wrote on previous days. So far I’ve written over 5000 words since Monday!

Conclusion

I had a rough couple weeks, but things are looking up. I’m starting to form good writing habits, and based on past experience that will pick up into an upswing of good habits in other areas too. I’m making progress on my work projects and tracking it to keep myself motivated. Motivation has been most of my trouble recently, and I have it again.

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 8

I’m constantly amazed by how long I’ve been in my apprenticeship. It’s the end of June already?
Crazier still, my birthday is in two weeks, so I’m almost 19! It’s almost time for another post reflecting on the past year, like I did when I started my blog last July. Tuesday marks this blog’s anniversary.
I have two months at Original One Part, 10 months into my Praxis experience, two days shy of a year blogging, and two weeks shy of 19 years I’ve been alive.

Projects This Week

Last week Josh assigned me a project tracking APS representative visits to body shops. I have to put reps’ recent visits in the sheet so we can see the average number of visits and decide which reps to keep and which reps are not worth the money. (The reps send month-end reports and do tracking with us to ensure we’re getting our money’s worth, too.)
Additionally, I have to make sure the account information is up to date in Salespad, Hubspot, and also listed in the market shop lists. In the spreadsheet document with the APS visits tracker, there are sheets with lists of all the bodyshops in that market that have or are being visited by the reps.
Right now I’m focusing on recording all of the visits from reps that are not already logged and ensuring every shop they visit is on the market shop list. Once that is complete it’ll be easier to go through Hubspot and Salespad and have up to date account information on all sides.
So far I’ve gotten through all the emails from three reps, excluding any emails that came in for this coming week. There’s still countless emails to go through and it’s crazy tedious.
There’s a second part of the project that I haven’t even started, Action Alerts. There’s a whole email folder to go through for that. I have to ask Josh what to do for that, because it’s unclear to me from looking at the emails what I’m supposed to do with them. I still have so much of the first part that I haven’t talked to Josh about this yet.

Challenges This Week

On Tuesday our systems went down for a couple hours. We couldn’t use Salespad or the customer service portal, and the program on Parts Trader that does our auto quoting went down. We had to manually write quotes on Parts Trader using the inventory from our website. The phones still worked, so we had to use old order history to get pricing for people over the phone. We couldn’t give Ted, the warehouse manager, hand written or printed our orders because he couldn’t find the parts to pull with his scanner. Once everything was back up I had three or four orders to put in from Parts Trader, and total we had about fifteen orders go in the log all at once.