This is not meant to be a profile, but I see some irony in my long standing choice of screen name and what I’m feeling right now…some synchronicity and some paradox.

I am a writer and therefore a lone wolf of sorts, writing being the lonely business all the experts purport it to be.

I am not, however, a ‘dark man of mystery’ that my choice of totem might insinuate, not by even the most outrageous stretch of the imagination. I think I work with so many “Bride-of-Satan” and “Misunderstood-vampire” types—cue the heavy sigh—as a high school teacher that the image lost its savor long long ago. No, the wolf I picture myself as is not furtive or tragic in its creativity, but one who is naturally prone to warm smiles and a ready laugh, though I admit to being moon-sensitive, prone to introspection and melancholy in my private moments.

Actually, my students call me, “Papa-Bear.” One rather bright young oracle, and with an accuracy that actually scared me, called me “The Sad Clown.” Shurg. We all have our ups and downs.

I guess I’m on a down now that the NaNo experience is over, some sort of post-NaNo Depression, and am suffering an onset of withdraws. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was such a phenomenon, the mind being what it is, but I’m just a bit taken aback at being subject to it myself. I suppose it stands to reason though.

First there was all that build up in the weeks prior to the event. I’m not a pantster, but an outliner from way back, so my approach to the month was built on previous ideas and outlines that were the basis for a fairly extensively laid out plan of attack. I was checking out what others were up to in their novel synopsis and snippets. There were forums to digest, writing buddies to carefully pick, donations to make and regions explore.

Then there was month itself was full of activities that spawned spin offs and narrower explorations: forums to monitor, author and novel descriptions to write, a sponsorship page to set up, NaNoMail to send and read, Regional activities and Write-ins. The final push for the finish line was chaotic and blinding; it’s focus so sharp and pointed.

BAM! Suddenly it’s November 30th and it’s done-done-duuuun!

An odd lull set in afterward, a sudden silence, followed by the Scrivener build up that produced anothera flurry of writing centered activities: project saving, uninstalling the beta version, installing the full trial version and uploading the project, getting the 50% off coupon for the win, pay for the license and apply it.

So now what? Continue to work on my NaNo project? Return to work on The Kevodran? Try and make up for being absent at HOL and finish all my homework?

I’m in a weird space.

During the lull between NaNo and Scrivener I blogged a bit (three versions of this). I spent too much time trolling the NaNoWriMo website for interesting blogs and reading up on what peeps had written about. I read the forums I hadn’t earlier. I dedicated an inordinate amount of time to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a major time suck.

WTF am I doing? Not working on my manuscript, that’s for sure.

I wonder if I’m Jonesing for a writing community? The NaNoWriMo was such a heady experience, all the resources, the buddies, the concern. It was like a Writing Woodstock. Am I wanting something similar locally, with warm bodies? I know the late Jack M. Bickham, AKA John Miles, a prominent novelist with over 30 books to his name, was pretty skeptical about writer’s groups and their usefulness, saying,

“…to ask a club member, relative or friend for criticism is mostly a waste of time for at least two reasons: they won’t be honest; they usually don’t know what they’re doing anyway” (Bickham 85).

Ouch, I can understand that from a certain POV, but I’m not sure I’d be there for criticism, which of course begs the questions why go and why the desire?

I guess I’m wishing for the quintessential “Inkling” experience: the pub, the authors, the exchange, the discussion, the affirmation and the ale/coffee/tea. It could be all part of that romantic image many of us, including myself have of what it means to be a writer—characters taking over our story, muses that highjack plot and other myths. Shrug. I’m guessing it’ll soon pass as I cease the avoidance behavior—gaming, cruising, blogging—pick my manuscript and get back to “Two hours or 2k a day.”

There is no magic bean, no silver bullet, no arcane method. It’s all about sitting down, shutting the hell up and pounding out the words.

Who said that? Oh, yeah: me.

Bickham, Jack M.  The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them).  Cincinnati, Writer’s Digest Books: 1992.

Originally posted in The Salamander’s Quill 1.0 now deleted.