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It is very true that people just tell me things and share their stories, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. Everyone has a story, and most people simply want to be witnessed.

Most of us aren’t looking for solutions or problem solving; we simply want to be seen. I have many superpowers, but the ability to witness other people is high on the list.

Right now, people everywhere are starved for connection, and I am continuing to witness people and their stories literally everywhere I go, including at home.

I’m not anti-social, but I have lived here for more than twelve years and have had more conversations with neighbors in the past month than in several years. We are all stuck at home and not going anywhere other than stir crazy…which is a special level of hell even for introverts.

It’s always fascinating to hear how other people perceive of either me, or my life experiences. In a recent conversation, a long-time neighbor shared that they had watched my separation and divorce unfold, noting how my ex’s behavior was rather inappropriate.

I didn’t realize this person had been watching. In a way, it was validating to hear him share his perception of how my ex chose to behave toward me. Sometimes we aren’t even aware who is witnessing us and our stories.

As a writer and ghostwriter, I help people tell their stories; and I certainly have many of my own. It’s true that I cannot stop talking, but at the same time…I cannot stop listening. People and their stories are truly fascinating when we stop and simply pay attention to them.

This same neighbor shared some of his very personal stories that include massive grief and trauma. Everyone has a past, some of us are just more willing to show up and have it witnessed.

I am a natural listener and witness to the stories that people have to share. Even while supposedly being told to stay home, humans have a deep and intense desire to simply be seen. Some family members are horrified at choices I’m making, and while they’re welcome to their own opinions; I’m not willing to stop showing up for my own life.

Witnessing my own journey through this life experience, and sharing that through written expression is part of why I am here. Staying home, staying in bed, or opting out of witnessing and allowing myself to experience this life are simply not options.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Witnessing”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression


While I never really stopped showing up for my life, recently there has been a theme of emerging in even deeper ways. Early April of last year, I was at a local business event and several people seemed surprised to see me there; which I didn’t understand…was I supposed to stay in bed?

In recent conversation with someone who also encountered trauma last year, I asked if they noted the irony that we’re both ready to emerge more fully into our lives when the world shuts down. How fun.

Someone who was once very close to me, but then cut me off rather brutally, recently sent an IG follow request. To which I turned my head sideways wondering what the actual fuck they were thinking; and NO.

At the same time, other people I haven’t been in touch with lately have come back around and I’ve been able to reconnect with them joyfully. The choice is always mine to make. People continue to emerge back into my life in surprising ways.

Emerging even more fully into my life in so many ways is indescribably sweet and sometimes also bitter. I’m very aware of people that I choose to keep and those I choose to release.

Charlotte is a very, very small town; I am aware that I could encounter these non-connections in a variety of settings. Whether you think I’m writing about you or not, you’re right.

The reality is that my emergence and presence in my own life is only and always up to me; I choose who, where, and with whom I spend my time and energy.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Emerging”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression


Music and Memories

As I am once again awake in the middle of the night, listening to music, I am again reminded of the link between music and memory. Songs bring me back to memories effortlessly.

Some are sweet, some are much more bitter. Some create new memories to savor and appreciate.

I love music and appreciate lyrics; the lyrics and words are actually what I’m listening for more than anything.

As a writer, I’m drawn to words, but deeper than the words are the memories and experiences tied to songs. Certain songs can throw me back to my college or even high school days.

Other songs capture my experience of divorcing…songs can remind me of a wide variety of experiences. Music is very deeply tied to memories. Even while writing, I often have music playing and songs both accompany and remind me.

Even now, I have music playing that reminds me of previous writing experiences. Not in a bad way, just reminiscent and strangely aligned with prior middle of the night writing times. Seems early September and April have a lot in common.

There is a song that was the soundtrack to my divorce and I still love listening to it: Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift. I now have a completely different perspective on it, and today it brings me joy instead of anger.

These days I usually have music playing in the background no matter what I’m doing. Music and lyrics conjure both joyful and sad feelings; I’m willing to allow both.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Music and Memories”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression



Communication Outlets

It is fascinating to watch the writers whose work I admire and appreciate share on social media right now. Good luck getting a writer to stop talking. By social media, I mean Instagram, as it’s the only place I still have a presence.

So many of the writers that I follow are turning to podcasting in order to communicate. Seriously, we just can’t shut up. A little more than a year later, it remains true that even a broken jaw couldn’t shut me up; and I’m still talking all the time.

Granted, I’m an exceptional listener just as much as I’m a writer and speaker. Communication is a word that follows me everywhere; I read between the lines of both verbal and non-verbal communication.

I adore being a part of creating podcast episodes and listen to ones I’ve been a part of, while also consuming the content of others. I am currently devouring the podcasts that other writers are creating. From Brené Brown to Cheryl Strayed, there are brilliant writers creating new content right now in the form of podcasts.

As much as I listen intently and communicate myself, there does come a point each day when I’m done speaking and need more silence. Usually it arrives in mid-afternoon once I’ve been awake and communicating for most of the day.

Those of us who are writers naturally just show up and talk. Some of my favorite relationships are with other writers; there’s an element of mutual understanding that’s impossible to manufacture.

Both of the crystal pendants around my neck are related to communication. I know sort of what they each mean but have had several friends much more versed in crystal meaning comment on how perfectly they blend and complement one another. They’re opalite and blue sodalite, and they match my actual and chosen birthstones; diamond and sapphire. They are also very yin/yang in appearance; integration is as much a theme as communication.

The first “communication” crystal arrived just after my birthday at the end of last April. The very next morning brought some unexpected (and unpleasant) communication. Which led to some decisions I hadn’t anticipated. Yet at the same time, that communication opened doors that I didn’t even know existed. Doors that I’ve trusted myself to choose to walk through.

Communication isn’t optional within relationships; it’s essential. That’s part of why I no longer have a dating profile: many men are unwilling to engage in mutual conversation. I had one blatantly ignore the fact that I shared how meaningful communication is to me; we never met, despite his insistence on going out for a drink.

I talk with people literally everywhere I go and it’s very true that people just tell me some very personal stories. Writers must talk and communicate. We do it with words and in conversation with others. We have a deep need to speak as well as to listen. We are always reading between the lines of what is and is not said. Combine being a writer with being an empath and I’m really fun to date.

One of the men I slept with after divorcing refused to engage with me in conversation. It didn’t take long for me to get bored and if I were to describe him: he wasn’t that cute, definitely wasn’t that tall, and the sex wasn’t that good. Date a writer…end up as material.

Communication could qualify as a core value of mine. Engage and debate with me; make me consider different opinions. I have fascinating conversations both with people in my life and with strangers all the time; the life of a writer intrinsically involves communication in a variety of forms. I’m more fully willing to admit and embrace that than ever before.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Communication Outlets”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression




Overcoming Fear

It is beyond ironic that a podcast episode I was part of recording a while ago just aired…given the current state of the world. The latest Confessions of a Financial Advisor podcast episode is all about overcoming fear. And fear is something every single person experiences in some form or another.

The world is currently in a state of massive fear and chaos. Check out the podcast episode linked above to listen in on my conversation with Al about the reality of fear.

It’s also the first time I’ve shared my personal story of the first man I went on a date with after my divorce. It’s been more than two years and that story still makes me laugh. Needless to say, he and I are no longer connected.

Right now, we are all navigating through some ridiculously messy emotions, including grief. The world has been traumatized by recent events, and those of us who are highly sensitive are holding not just personal but collective grief and fearful emotions.

In another “no such thing as coincidence” moment, my other podcast partner and I just recorded the next Disrupt Now Program podcast episode centered on the word: Surrender.

I’ve listened to that upcoming episode’s raw version and it is so fucking good! As are most of the episodes that I’m a part of with podcast partners. I just show up and talk, so every episode that I’m a collaborator on are truly a reflection of the genuine conversations I have in my daily life.

If you ever wonder what it’s like to talk with me, just listen to any of the episodes I’ve shared. They are all a reflection of what it’s like to engage in conversation with me. By far, the most common thing people say to me is, “It’s just really easy to talk with and be around you.” Followed closely by, “I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, it’s really personal.”

Both FA Confessions and the Disrupt Now Program podcasts have become huge passion projects of mine within the past year. I absolutely love collaborating on both of them. It’s hard to believe that a year ago neither one had shown up yet, they both just feel intimately familiar.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Overcoming Fear”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression

The Conversational Nature of Writing

One of the most beautiful discoveries of the past year has been the truly conversational and collaborative nature of writing. I had no idea so much conversation was involved in what at times is a very solitary activity. It’s a realization I am very grateful for having encountered.

When it comes to ghostwriting for people, it’s happened enough times now that I can acknowledge it as a personal truth: writing is both solitary and conversational.

In some cases, I can ghostwrite strictly from raw written material. But in my favorite partnerships, conversation is an integral part of the process for me. I need (and want) to be able to talk through what I’m getting and dig deeper into what the person is really trying to communicate.

It turns out that while writing is at times very solitary, I personally most enjoy the collaborations that very much involve conversation with the author. The conversational piece allows me to get deeper into the message and really helps when I go back on my own to play with words.

Realizing how significant conversation is in the writing process was unexpected. So was the awareness that I really enjoy writing with men. If you’d told me a year ago that either would become true, I would not have believed it.

Right now, the only thing keeping me close to sane are my phone and video conversations. I took two walks around the neighborhood today just to get out of the house. I cannot imagine how extroverts or people with children are coping right now. I’m not sure if neighbors have started medicating their exceedingly loud children…but thankfully they’ve been more subdued today.

It’s true that even experiencing trauma can’t shut me up and I continue to have the most intriguing conversations with so many people in my life. This awareness may have been unexpected, but it now makes a lot of sense. Even with my own writing, it involves conversation on a variety of levels and I enjoy that.

A lot can change in a year, and as traumatic and awful as 2019 was; this awareness of the conversational dimension of writing is one of the biggest gifts that it brought.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “The Conversational Nature of Writing”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression

Canaries in the Coal Mines

This is one of my favorite metaphors of what it’s like to be a highly sensitive human, and it is written about by Glennon Doyle in her book Love Warrior. Being an intensely sensitive person is like being one of the canaries in the coal mine to alert miners to danger. We are the first to feel things, and we feel them more intensely than most.

Except in our country (and many others) where those of us who are highly sensitive are told that we are crazy. We’re recognizing danger and speaking up about it only to be ignored. Marginalized. Refused.

There are a lot of highly sensitive people in my life, and we have fascinating conversations about this. Right now, the world is experiencing deep levels of trauma and grief. Those of us who are highly sensitive and intuitive can feel it.

I spent a very long time denying my sensitivity. One of the most beautiful gifts of the past several years has been remembering and reclaiming that sensitivity. Those of us who are highly sensitive can feel things we cannot explain. We read between all of the lines.

We’re not crazy for speaking up about what we sense and feel without explanation; we’re proclaiming that we can see broken and outdated structures for which it’s time to re-write the playbook.

We’re screaming that there are outdated, toxic, and harmful aspects to “traditional” systems that need to go. Standing on the deck of the Titanic yelling warnings about the iceberg while everyone just wants to keep dancing.

The world right now is in a state of chaos and there are patriarchal structures falling down. It is not our duty to fix them; it’s our invitation to build new ones from the ashes. Perhaps with more collaboration and creativity rather than competition and scarcity.

With more reciprocal conversation and less dictation. With more compassion and kindness than greed. Those of us who are highly sensitive humans are holding a lot right now. Many of us are feeling exhausted.

But perhaps at the same time, feeling a bit of relief that our message is in some ways finally being heard. We’ve been saying for quite a while that the world cannot continue to do things as they’ve always been done.

It is time for change and creating new structures founded upon different values than the ones which are crumbling were built. The United States was founded upon values of violence and de-humanization. It is time for that to change.

What we’re witnessing right now on the world stage is a global time-out; the planet has finally had enough and sent us all to our rooms to think about what we’ve done.

If you have highly sensitive people in your life, check in on them. We’re witnessing a tremendous amount of grief and it is really heavy to hold space for that. Many of us have also been holding our personal grief on top of that, which only adds to the exhaustion.

Maybe it is finally time that the message those of us highly sensitive people have been trying to send is starting to be received: we cannot continue doing things the way they have always been done.

Also, taking time for rest and reflection aren’t weak…they’re essential.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Canaries in the Coal Mines”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression


It’s fascinating to have the perspective of a different career as a writer and ghostwriter, while watching the real estate industry respond to current events.

I’ve gone from shaking my head and rolling my eyes to wondering “when the actual hell are you going to admit…the economic correction that is years overdue has finally arrived?”

Several past real estate clients have reached out to ask about current market conditions and I always ask whose answer they’d like: mine or the industry’s. Because they are two very different answers.

Look, I get the fact that the real estate industry is deeply intertwined with the national economy. I lived through 2008 and 2009 while working in real estate. I also get that it’s terrifying to have your livelihood threatened. Fear is what underlies every single message and update all of the real estate professional organizations have been sending out.

It’s just interesting to witness with the perspective of also being a writer. Because I’m no longer solely caught up in real estate, I can see what’s happening and how people as well as organizations are responding. It’s not pretty. Nor is it “business as usual.” As a writer, even I couldn’t make this shit up.

The national housing market is quite generous and stepped aside to allow something else to take down the economy. Housing did its part in 2008, and was kind enough to allow something else to bring the next economic correction. Hey, Coronavirus.

Because the economic correction is here and regardless of what the real estate industry is ready to acknowledge: it is sorely needed. That said, this also brings opportunities that will continue to expand. Within any “crisis” there always lies possibility and potential.

I’m not accepting new real estate clients right now, and haven’t been for nearly a year with very few exceptions (I have an exceptional network of agents that I refer out to). But I still keep up with the Charlotte real estate market on a daily basis and after sixteen years in the industry; the writing has been on the wall. It’s just taking a while for it to be acknowledged.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Denial”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression

Physical Experience of Stress

When I experience stress, it manifests in several ways but the most distinct is a complete loss of appetite. Sleep gets severely disrupted too, but I can mitigate that aspect to some extent thanks to a flexible schedule. Don’t ask when and at what time I’ve slept in the past day; it’s been “interesting.”

The loss of appetite is by far the worst physical manifestation of stress for me. For the third time in several years, I am once again negotiating with myself when it comes to food. And yes, I am one of the annoying people who can totally forget to eat.

The most severe episode of this loss of appetite was probably while separated/divorcing. At the time, a friend observed that the “divorce diet is very real” and many close to me expressed legitimate concern at the amount of weight I lost. Weight I’ve certainly regained but didn’t really have to lose at the time.

Then a year ago, post-trauma I had absolutely no desire to eat. Even though I had people constantly bringing me food, I physically did not want to eat any of it.

The month of March this year was intense with multiple layers of grief and I once again found myself without any desire to eat. Which short-term is fine, but longer-term can get problematic.

During each of these times I end up playing a game of negotiation with myself. Which typically looks like rationalizing that eating what’s considered “junk food” is acceptable. Because eating something is better than eating nothing.

So once again, I’m back to eating crap that I don’t even want, just to eat something at all. This is not enjoyable nor do I seek it out. It’s simply how I physically respond to intense stress, or grief and trauma.

I actually like to eat and enjoy food, but when I’m stressed I have no desire for it. While unhappily married, every time he’d start a fight I knew that if I hadn’t eaten dinner yet it was a case of “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

It was about this time a year ago that I forced myself to keep eating in the interest of physically healing. Intellectually I understand that my body needs nourishment, even when I don’t want it.

Each one of us responds differently to stress, but it’s helpful to know our typical responses. I’m aware of my own and know that sometimes, negotiating with myself when it comes to food is just how I need to handle that phase.

There is a LOT going on in the world right now and in addition to my personal grief and trauma, I can feel the collective energy of grief and trauma. That’s a lot to hold and feel. I do safeguard myself from taking on too much of it, but it’s almost impossible to not be aware of it at some level.

For me personally, right now…I’m back to negotiating with myself and allowing permission to acknowledge that eating something is better than nothing. While also understanding that this won’t last forever; nothing ever does.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Physical Experience of Stress”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression




I would sincerely like to ask 2020: what the actual fuck are you doing?

January felt like a long year. Then February felt like an even longer year. March showed up and I have no words.

I spent the first half of March holding space for my personal grief. Then I spent the second half of March witnessing (and feeling) trauma and grief on a global scale. As someone who is highly skilled at navigating grief, all I can say is that it was a lot.

One of the things about grief that I struggle with the most is that it is non-linear in nature. There is no map, and the experience of it often does not make logical sense. There were many days when I allowed myself to crawl back into bed; because I needed to.

Grief is awful. It is heavy and dark and unpredictable. While the immense crying that I did in early March has subsided, I’m still crying and allowing myself to feel unpleasant emotions.

There is also a part of me that is highly pissed off right now that much of April appears to be canceled as well. For the second year in a row my birthday month is being subdued and I do NOT like it.

In an ironic twist, last March I was mad that I wasn’t being left alone, this year I am currently fed up with being alone. The universe has quite a sense of humor. Although it surprises many people, I am a huge introvert; which means time alone is required.

I love being alone and enjoy my own company, just as much as I appreciate quality time with the people in my life. Even I am so done with this quarantine bs. The other day I snapped at the cat (in a very unkind tone of voice) to socially distance from me. And was immediately horrified at what I’d said.

None of us escapes grief and right now we’re experiencing it on a global scale. Which honestly sucks. It’s awful and uncertain and messy as hell. It is also non-negotiable, and unfortunately, the only way out is through.

Grief and I are intimately acquainted, and as of March 2020, it seems we meet yet again. Fuck.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Grief”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression