The Deep Breath Before November

Technically, I should be working right now. I have a website to maintain, articles to write, other author’s short fiction to read for Fiction Vortex, and a thousand little projects around the house patiently waiting for me to get off my butt and get to work.

Instead, I have given myself the day off. Except for this communication to my Misdirected readers, I suppose. But that doesn’t really feel like work. More like a one-sided telephone conversation with a really large group of friends.

Celebration of The One (Out of Two)

Today’s day off originates thanks to the day itself: Halloween. Those of you who know us and love us know that Halloween is one-half of the two monster holidays celebrated in our joint household. (The other being Superbowl Sunday. We’ll talk about that one closer to February.)

This year, as usual, we have decorated, bought candy, re-decorated, considered and rejected costumes, made some additional changes to our decorations, and finally arrived at today – the holiday itself.

Lor will undoubtedly make more changes to our decorations today, though.

We discussed moving to a “skeleton” theme this year but ran out of planning time. So, instead, we pulled the trusty “spider” motif out of storage. Upon applying it to the house, we decided it needed a little more “Oomph.” We added bits here and there, and now it looks like this:

Yes, that is a gigantic spider hanging just over the mailbox under the eaves. Let’s hope our mailman is not an arachnophobe.

Now, we sit and wait for the hordes of little monsters to come and beg for candy and toys. (Yes, we give away both. The kids actually like the little 10-cent bubbles and slime better than the actual candy. Who knew?) Lor still has to carve her pumpkin, but otherwise, we rest in the calm before the storm.

Speaking of that…

The (NaNoWriMo) Storm Descends

A month from now I’ll be an author.

Again.

Well, sort of.

For the first time, I’ve decided to participate in the National Novel Writing Month event. This is a challenge to novelists to complete an entire novel in the month of November.

Well, sort of.

The target for the month is 50,000 words, which would be a very short novel indeed. (Inheritance, for example, clocked in at 85,000 words +/-.) So, really, what I’ll be left with at the end of the month is a framework of a novel. Hopefully a beginning, a middle, and a resolution. Introductions of my main characters and plotlines. And the warm and fuzzy glow from having actually finished a book.

Well, sort of.

For me, the main goal is to see if I can finish a story in a month. My stories normally are long and rambling affairs that take me literally years to complete. I cut dozens of scenes totaling thousands of words out of Inheritance. Over the course of seven years! With the majority of that work taking place in the last two years, of course.

So the real question is: can I remain focused enough to write an average of 1,600 words a day? Every day? For a month?!?!?

November is gonna be a beast. I still have my commitments to Fiction Vortex: I will be reading and editing 10,000 words of text every week.

I still have my commitment to Misdirected: I will still be blogging once a week here.

And I still have client writing work: you know, the stuff that actually pays for food and coffee.

Somewhere, in all this, I am going to have to find time to write an average of 1,600 words a day. Every day. For a month.

I am simultaneously frightened and excited. What if the whole thing crashes and burns and I give up after 4,000 words?

But, a little voice keeps asking me: What if it is good?

Starting tomorrow, I am about to find out.

 

…And A Question For You

As part of the project, I am going to be keeping a log of sorts of what I manage to do every single day. Otherwise I will never finish. I know myself well enough to be aware that if I don’t hold myself accountable, I will hit a rough patch and say “Oh well, couldn’t do it.”

So, the question becomes: are you, the readers of Misdirected interested in this log?

If you are, I will log somewhere public. I have a Tumblr page that has literally been sitting ignored for months that I could dedicate to a “micro-blog” tracking my progress.

But, if no one is interested, I will simply write things down in a journal for my own edification. Let me know what you think on Facebook or Twitter.

Hyper Ventilating,

Jeremy

 

Non-Fiction Friday: Not Quite ‘Fiction Friday’

Not Quite Fiction Friday: The reasons that our first Fiction Friday has been delayed

Today was supposed to be our very first ‘Fiction Friday’. I was going to chat about our big upcoming fiction project, and release a contest as well.

Instead, we had a bit of a fender-bender on the Information Superhighway.

Discovery: The Painful Process

I freely admit that I have never published any fiction at all before, so this entire process is new to me. As it turns out, there are dozens of moving parts that all have to work in perfect synchronicity to move a full-blown fiction project from inception to publication. And, from time to time, a little grit can get in the gears.

My serialized novel, “Inheritance”, is currently going through de-gritting. As is the whole Ash Falls shared storyverse.

I have grown very used to blogging. You have a concept, you sit down and write it, you make some revisions, then you press the “Publish” button. Nothing to it.

However, as it turns out, publisher-backed fiction requires a few more things. It requires a project plan. You need a marketing plan. Artwork must be conceptualized and created. You need oodles and oodles of “extra” material that will never make it into your story. And you need a very thick skin, to deal with the ego-crushing edits and revisions that will be visited upon you by your proof-readers and editors.

Building a Shared World

In a shared storyverse, like Ash Falls, you also need some extra tools. In our case, four different authors are writing four different stories all set in the same city. As it turns out, you need an encyclopedia full of facts and figures available to all your authors. Where is your setting? How does it function? Who are the movers and shakers? All these details need to be fleshed out.

Someone has to draw a map of the setting so that we know where things are happening in relation to one another.  We need a history of the world around our characters. Do our characters even know each other? Do they meet? What do they think about one another?

Yeah, there’s some real detail-oriented stuff in here. Which sort of jumped up and bit us right in the schedule.

Delay is not Destruction

So, we will now be pushing our release towards the end of February, instead of the beginning. As an author, I am chomping at the bit, ready to get my masterpiece out into the world. As the creator of Ash Falls, and the lead author out of four, I am internally kind of relieved that we have a little extra time to polish things until they gleam.

This is the split personality disorder of shared storyverse authoring.

However, I can tell you all this: the method we will be using for our Fiction Vortex contest in a couple of weeks will be using email address registration as our entry method.

So, if you are interested in qualifying for the contest, feel free to register your email address now, and avoid the rush. You will not only qualify for the upcoming contest, but you will be informed any time a new article is published here on Misdirected. And what could be better than that?

Well, actually, lots of things could be better than that. But you will also be automatically entered into any other drawings or contests we have down the road as well. So, if you have the slightest interest in qualifying to win stuff, make sure you drop your email in the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” box over on the right side of the page.

If you are already a follower, we’ve got you covered. No need to register again.

Still Waiting For Fiction Friday,

Jeremy

(Non-Fiction Friday): Bright Lights, Big Audience

Bright Lights, Big Audience: Getting Misdirected in front of millions of readers

The screenshot above (taken yesterday) is the front page of WellnessNova.com, a highly regarded alternative health website. They receive over 2 million unique views a month from people looking to improve their health and well-being.

Once again, this is the front page. And the article in the top left position (the one most likely to be clicked, according to SEO experts) happens to be under a familiar byline.

Now, being exposed to an audience this large doesn’t mean any immediate financial gains or anything. I was paid for writing this article last year. But it does get my byline out there. And it does expose my author bio at the bottom of the article, referring to Misdirected and my favorite topic, bariatric surgery.

With any luck at all, we could be seeing some new residents here at Misdirected.

The idea of an article I wrote potentially being seen by a couple million people is amazing, to say the least. The initial article I created for Wellness Nova got parked back in the cheap seats, and I think was viewed by a few hundred people before it faded away.

Now the next step – We have a third article coming out in February (all about Creatine, I believe), then I need to start looking for more topics and new forums.

A year ago I was morbidly obese. Today I am writing articles about health and wellness.

Mind. Blown.

In Other News…

I have gathered together all my notes and observations, and have actually begun writing my book on Adult-Onset Epilepsy. It is tentatively titled “Learning To Live In The Dark”. Currently, I have no firm timetable set for publication. However, I have made a commitment to creating new content for it every week. Like, it is on my personal calendar and everything. As the book develops, Patreon subscribers will get excerpts and sneak peeks at what is happening behind the curtain.

Speaking of Patreon, our funding project keeps growing and growing. We are already 3/4 of the way to our second funding goal – starting a podcast! I had better start looking for podcasting gear…Any feedback on topics you would like to hear about on a podcast in the next couple months?

And, keep your eyes here next week for our first “Fiction Friday” – we will have some exciting news and will be announcing a giveaway as well!

Catch you all on Monday!

Trying Not To Let The Idea Of 2 Million Viewers Go To My Head,

Jeremy

(Non-Fiction Friday) Lifehack, Patreon, and more!

(Non-Fiction Friday) News on personal publications

Given that we have consolidated the Misdirected audience with those interested in my other writings, I’ve decided to make a compromise. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday will continue to be focused on bariatric surgery, epilepsy, weight loss, and the other health and wellness issues we’ve been sharing. Fridays will now provide an outlet for information about my other writing activities. Depending on the subject matter being covered, we’ll title them either “Fiction Fridays” or “Non-Fiction Fridays.” I will be sure to lead the subject line off with the appropriate subject in parentheses so you know what is coming.

We’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, as no one I have ever known would be likely to say. Let’s catch everyone up!

Patreon:

The Patreon campaign started off with a bang – we met our first funding goal in less than 24 hours. That initial $30/month we were hoping for covers our domain name registration, site hosting, backup services and a couple of productivity apps every month. In 24 hours, Misdirected became a self-supporting enterprise, no longer requiring a monthly line item from our household budget. Thank you again to everyone that signed up as a supporter!

Our next goal, $100/month in support, will allow me to abandon some of the $5-$10/piece contract work I have been doing and instead use that time to start working on a monthly podcast. We’ll cover the same subjects you are used to reading about here, but will chat with an expert for an hour (or so) instead of writing a few paragraphs. If you have any interest at all in seeing us move that direction, take a look at our Patreon page!

We’ve also added a $5/month support level, which will entitle supporters to receive a free piece of writing every month. This may be developmental notes from fiction pieces, excerpts from upcoming books, or maybe even speculative ideas on new potential projects. February’s piece will be my original character notes on Brian Drake, my protagonist from “Inheritance”. Sign up and check it out!

Lifehack:

We are officially on board as a Lifehack.org author! Lifehack.org has 2 sources of articles. Some are contributors, who work for free, submitting their own ideas. Others are authors, paid writers who are assigned specific topics. I have been picked up as an author, and completed my first piece this week, an article on the 10/20/30 method of presentation creation.

If it is read enough, I could be handed as many as 5 articles a week. This is a Really Big Deal, folks – Lifehack.org gets over 6 million views a month. This is the type of work I am hoping to do regularly: researched articles under my own byline. Something to fill in the cracks between my ultimate preference of blog posts and fiction pieces. I am a little tired of ghostwriting advertisements. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wellness Nova:

Speaking of real articles on real topics, Wellness Nova will be publishing my second article on January 19 (next Thursday.)  My first article for them, back in October, was pretty well received but had a limited appeal. Next week’s article will be about drinking water, something we all are involved with. My research on the article certainly changed the way we deal with water here at home.

Again, they are another major website (2 million +/month), so success there can equate to success in other places. Be sure to take a look at the article when it goes live and let me know what you think!

One Last Thing Before I Go…

A Plate of Protein Brownie Bites

This is what a plate of Protein Brownie Bites (see yesterday’s article) looks like.

You may suspect that Lor went to all of the trouble of making a whole new batch of them last night, just so I could actually get a real photo of them on my blog.

Your suspicion would be correct.

I Can’t Help It If I Am A Spoiled Husband,

Jeremy

Patreon Launch Day!

Welcome, everyone, to Patreon Launch Day!

So…what is a Patreon, and why would I want to launch one, you ask?

Patreon is a site/service that allows artists, like myself, to pursue monthly crowdfunding subscriptions in order to support their artistic endeavors.

What the heck is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a recent phenomenon that pursues financial investment by looking for small investments from a lot of investors. Crowdfunding prefers getting $1,000 in capital from 1,000 investors with one dollar each, rather than 10 investors with $100 each.

It is a really brilliant system that allows just about anyone to help support their favorite artists. I, for example, have been contributing small amounts to two of my favorite WoW videos blogs every month. This despite how perpetually broke I am. It makes me feel really plugged into the content being produced by the artists in question.

As a subscriber, I get placed on a mailing list with exclusive access to content that is not available to the general public. Higher amounts of contributions would grant me different levels of rewards.

And now Misdirected is participating in this model, doing away with our older AdWords advertisements. I was not fond of the ads, and I would guess that no one else really was either.

There is a short video on my Patreon site explaining everything in greater detail. You can visit it here, or at any time in the future. Just click the “Become a Patron” button to the top right of this page. I will be adding semi-regular updates to that page as well.

Ready, Launch, Set!

Speaking of funding goals…when I created the Patreon page yesterday, I had every intention of the “Grand Opening” event taking place from the article I am writing right now. Patreon, however, had other ideas and sent out a notification about the new page via Twiter and Facebook yesterday.

And I’ll be darned if we didn’t meet our first funding goal within hours of launch.

My sincere thanks go out to the friends and family members who signed up to support Misdirected instantly. I look forward to continuing to create content here for a good long time, and it is nice to know that it is important enough to you that you are willing to support us with a subscription.

Finally, this concludes our website infrastructure changes for 2017! Now, back to creating content about things that really matter.

Next Stop: 5,000 Views A Month,

Jeremy