Welcome to 2017, and Misdirected 2.0!

Misdirected celebrates 2017 and our new home!

Happy 2017, everyone, and welcome to the new home of Misdirected!

You Have Been Misdirected…

If you have followed Misdirected for any length of time, you may be aware that this site has been sitting in the wings, patiently waiting for my attention. I had intended for the blogger.com site to be my “personal” site, and for this site to be the home of my professional activities.

Being a writer, though, I have found it very difficult to determine the difference between personal and professional. My blog posts tend to be very personal and anecdotal – but so are my professional articles. (At least the ones under my own byline.) I made a commitment to creating blog posts 4 days a week – but splitting those posts created new issues. Posting on 2 homes meant that 2 different audiences were not getting all the posts I had committed to.

Accordingly, I have consolidated. I chose this site because the name (jeremycschofield.com) is much easier to remember. The backend here is more robust (utilizing WordPress), and I think the articles are more attractive and easier to read. This can now become my one stop shop for all my articles. Bariatric surgery and weight loss, disability issues, lifestyle changes, and professional activities, all under one roof.

No Plan Survives Contact With The Enemy

I spent the last few days of 2016 planning, backing up, and executing the transfer to ensure that all the previously created content from Misdirected 1.0 wound up here. However, because no plan survives contact with the enemy, the forces of entropy struck back. I was left with a blog full of archived articles that were formatted incorrectly. Many were missing associated images. I spent the weekend correcting all my posts from December. I will continue to repair posts all the way back to the initial posts in March as a long-term project. If you happen to be looking for an older post and find that it looks odd, chances are I have not reached back that far just yet. Please drop me a line to let me know what you have spotted.

Two other format changes worth noting. Several mobile readers informed me that my previous formatting was creating strange spacing problems on their mobile devices. I have abandoned justified paragraph formatting for left-aligned text to try and help out with that issue.

And, though I will continue to use nicknames to obscure the identities of those I may write about, I will be retiring the use of the “Hawkwind” pen name here on Misdirected. As my personal and professional work begin to bleed together, there is really no longer a need to use a gamer tag as my identity. My full name is built into the web address, after all.

Welcome to 2017, and welcome to jeremycschofield.com!

Looking Forward To Decorating My New Home,

Jeremy

PS – I was not, unfortunately, able to import my followers from Misdirected 1.0. Feel free to follow here at the new address by signing up with the shiny new form over on the right. You’ll get instant updates whenever I put up a new article!

…And Looking Forward to 2017

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Welcome, friends and neighbors, to the last Misdirected post of 2016.

Been a heck of a year, hasn’t it?

I am looking forward to 2017 with a considerable amount of hope. Compared to last New Year’s Eve, the contrast is like night and day. I am lighter, happier, and more productive now than I was last year, and any year before this for a long, long time. Mainly thanks to an aggressive neurologist and the team at ABQ Health Partners Bariatrics.

Now, it has not been easy. I still have to shake off my disappointment after seizures. I still miss pizza and beer. I still look in the mirror and sigh wistfully over the “apron” of deflated skin I now wear around my waist. And I am still baffled at how eating an ounce each of deli meat, cheese and nuts make me feel like I have swallowed a cow. But my quality of life has never been better, and I choose to focus on that.

I may not be able to run a marathon, but I can walk 5 kilometers. I may not be able to bench press my body weight, but I am able to lift weights again. I may not see the person I want to see when I look in the mirror, but I certainly like the person I see better than the one that was reflected at me back on December 31 of last year.

So, what does 2017 have in store?

Big changes here at Misdirected, for one thing. I won’t spoil the surprise for you, but on Monday things are going to look real different, I can tell you that.

I am also going to be moving away from the embedded ads, I think. I intend to convert the site over to support via the Patreon system, essentially crowd-funding the continued existence of Misdirected. I love the Patreon system, and actually am a patron of a couple of my favorite bloggers. More details to come.

Episode #1 of “Inheritance” will be releasing on Fiction Vortex in February of 2017, followed by the remainder of the novel, one episode per month throughout the year. I am seriously quivering with joy at the prospect of producing my first novel, and love the concept of being a part of the cutting edge of producing episodal fictional content. The other 3 stories that will be written as part of the “Welcome To Ash Falls” Storyverse are already excellent, and I can hardly wait to see what the authors have planned for the rest of their tales. Fiction Vortex produces great stories by excellent authors – if you haven’t checked out an episode or two yet, I strongly suggest you go read a few episodes now, and get all warmed up for the release of the Ash Falls stories later in 2017.

I will be producing non-fictional content as well, of course, and will keep everyone posted as these articles are released. This will be the year that I shift gears and begin producing regular content under my own byline. I feel like I have completed my apprenticeship working for ghostwriting agencies, and am ready to move on to consistent creation of my own material.

I also intend for this to be the year that “Learning To Live In The Dark” is finished. This is the book I have been working on for a couple of years now, dealing with Adult-Onset Epilepsy. My current intention is not to seek a publisher, but to self-publish it once it is completed, and I will keep everyone posted on its progress and eventual release date.

We have travel plans for Nevada, Arizona, and South Dakota tentatively on the books for 2017. Depending on the success of Inheritance we may also sneak in a visit to Oregon, so I can spend some time near the locales where my novel is set. We will be participating in our first 5K event in May, and should both hit the “100-pounds lost” milestone in 2017.

It looks like it is going to be a full year.

Thanks again to all my family, friends, and followers here on Misdirected. If it wasn’t for you, I would be jotting all this down in a journal and never sharing the experiences with anyone. I sincerely appreciate you allowing me to be a part of your lives.

Be Blessed In 2017,

– Jeremy

Looking back at 2016

 

313,000 words typed this year. Dang. That is quite a few. Like, if those words were put into novels, I would have written a trilogy. In one year. And I used to wonder how Robert Parker managed his output of books…

Seriously, though, 2016 was the year when I finally decided I had something important enough to talk about on a regular basis. In the past, I have written about Epilepsy – which is important to only a very small segment of the world, though I wish it was important to more people. I’ve written about gaming, which is important to me, but not necessarily the majority of the planet. But, this year, I finally discovered something that was important to me and a good percentage of the world: obesity, and the life-altering methods that can be required to combat it.

Despite my terrifically bad memory, I can distinctly remember stepping on my scale in February and seeing the numbers “302” appear on the readout. I felt like my heart would stop beating. I don’t know why it was that I was willing to previously put up with scale numbers like 280 or even 290. But cresting that 300-pound plateau was just too much for me. I could barely walk down the street and back (2 tenths of a mile) thanks to my blown knee. I couldn’t empty groceries out of the car without gasping for air for minutes afterward. The combination of my weight and my seizures was so overwhelming that we finally had to give up being foster parents, since it was not fair to expect my wife to be raising kids by herself as well as caring for me full-time. My life revolved around my shattered dreams of being a parent and a musician, my sexless marriage, and waiting for the next batch of seizures to arrive.

And, of course, food. LOTS of that.

300 pounds is what it took to get me to accept that I had a problem that I was not going to be able to fix on my own, despite years of trying to do so. After abusing my body for 20 years I gave up my belief that it was all somehow temporary and that I could change any time I wanted to. I needed help from an outside agency – drastic, dramatic help that was going to involve radically changing my physiology, and altering my life not for a few days or weeks, but for the rest of my life. Bariatric surgery from Dr. Tyner, and the unflagging support of my loved ones, provided me with the tools I needed to finally make those difficult choices and changes.

And, so far, it is working. I can walk 5 kilometers without falling to pieces afterward. I go to the gym almost every day. I have a social life again. I have a sex life again. My increased health even seems to have had a positive effect on my seizure activity. A year ago, I was sitting around the house waiting to die. Today, I am constantly in motion, and planning for 5, 10, and even 20 years down the road. Obesity was killing me, and I have now sprung back to life.

And, in the place of being passionate about food, I have discovered new passions. I was able to get a quill and inkpot tattoo back in April to celebrate becoming a published, professional writer. I am halfway through writing my first novel. I have begun work on not one but two non-fiction books. I even went so far as to buy a house, fully expecting to be around when it is paid off in my 70s.

97 pounds lighter and 300,000 words later, I am still discovering new things I want to experience.

Thanks For Joining Me On My Journey,

– Jeremy

Ask, And You Shall Receive

Yesterday, I put out a request on my Facebook page, looking for additional writing opportunities due to a downturn in our family finances.

Today, I just finished setting up my profile with Lifehack: a “productivity and lifestyle” website. In a single day, they reviewed my portfolio and invited me to start contributing. The job requires writing multiple articles every week. These articles will appear under my own byline and pay a heck of a lot more than the content mills.

The opportunity to do more lifestyle and health writing is exciting. The articles I wrote for WellnessNova earlier this year really challenged me as a writer. Surprisingly, my research actually led me into making some changes of my own around our household. The idea that I can discover some additional life improvements simply by performing research feels like a win/win for me.

The Misdirected blog has taken the lion’s share of my attention for several months now, but I’ve still been working on other projects. My Fiction Vortex project is moving along smoothly. We are still on target for the release of the “Welcome To Ash Falls” series of serialized novels in February. The three authors that I have selected are all excellent writers, and I am enjoying their work and their development of the world I created in Ash Falls. My own piece, “Inheritance”, has reached the 50% completion mark. I am just about ready to take the brakes off and plummet downhill to final copy. A couple of other potential fiction projects are bubbling in the back of my mind, motivating me to wrap this one up.

Putting your request out there into the Universe can have unexpected dividends. Stay tuned here for more news about my upcoming work with Lifehack!

– Jeremy

Real Life Takes Over Misdirected!

Have you ever had that sensation of wanting to undertake a new project or life change, but being unwilling to make that final step? You look at it, you read up on it, you analyze it, but you can’t quite bring yourself to make that life-altering decision. It is like looking through the store window at the object you desire but never walking through the door. Or standing at the edge of a diving board looking down but not quite being able to muster the courage to make the jump.

Until, of course, life comes up behind you and gives you a shove.

I’ve been slowly developing my contract writing business since last year, but have never quite made the jump over to pursuing it full-time. There are so many things to worry about. Sure, this blog is popular, but trying to actually re-enter the workforce as a contract writer is scary stuff. What if I can’t find enough clients? What if things start off well but then peter out? What if I suddenly lose my drive to write? (It happens, it is referred to as “Writer’s Block”.) What if, what if, what if…The voices ring through my head like an out of tune orchestra. So, instead, I remain safe by keeping up with Misdirected and creating a few ghost-writing posts a week for content mills like TextBroker. No way to make a living at it, but no fear of rejection or major impact to our lives should I suddenly stop.

But yesterday, life threw us a curve ball. One of our sources of secondary income just dried up, with no easy way to replace it. There is no real way to slash our expenses, either – we are already budgeted down to the last penny of my SSDI income, and as it is we receive some help from family members every single month. I briefly considered getting a part-time job, but I can vividly remember my last experiences with the regular work force – everything is fine until I start having seizures at work. Then, suddenly, things are not so great, and I am shortly looking for another minimum-wage job. It is a depressing and humiliating cycle.

No cure for Epilepsy yet: there is a reason I am on SSDI.

So, having been pushed off the diving board, I am either going to have to get myself into position for a dive or else go splat when I hit the water. This writing thing is going to have to turn into a regular revenue stream, like, now.

Accordingly, I turn to my “network” – the loyal readers of Misdirected. If any of you know anyone who is looking for contract writing, please let me know! I’ve written blog posts, magazine articles, product reviews…pretty much any kind of writing you can do on the Internet, I have done. Just some contact information for the person (or people) I should talk to would be great – I am happy to sell myself, but just need to know who I am selling myself to.

(Reading that last sentence creates so many opportunities for misunderstanding, but I think I will let it stand. Mock if you will.)

Thanks again to my loyal readers, and we’ll be back to talking about bariatric surgery and all that pertains thereunto on Thursday!

“Thereunto” Just Means I Am Practicing Writer-ish Words,

– Hawkwind