Tag Archives: writing

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

 

 

 

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

Embracing the Unknown

No one is more surprised than me at the experiences I am choosing to say “yes” to in all areas of my life. Including solo travel in what I’d describe as stealth mode; most people don’t know where I’m going until after I’m back.

For about a year, I’ve been threatening to take my laptop and run away to the mountains. But really, it’s not so much running away as leaning toward an area I want to explore. Both on my own and with friends.

I enjoy traveling alone, and an intuitive friend pointed out that choosing to travel on my own is bringing opportunities to meet new people. This came up in conversation after I shared that I actually would like to be in a relationship, and while I haven’t had great experiences with online dating, it’s true that I do meet new people all the time in the course of my daily life.

Traveling by myself is just another avenue to meet and connect with new people. It’s also a distinct way of continuing to embrace the unknown and explore. Which isn’t necessarily my default style, but it’s been a very strong recent trend.

In re-writing what my birthday celebration will look like this year, I’ve decided it is the anniversary of turning forty and will involve travel with friends. Last year, my birthday came and went without any significant celebration; I went out for drinks with friends…but I do that all the time.

So this year is an opportunity to embrace something much more meaningful and new as a way of celebrating. At the end of April last year, I had a lot going on, and didn’t have the capacity to really consider how I wanted to celebrate. This year, things are different, and it’s a new opportunity to do something different.

Embracing the unknown may not be my default style, but it is getting easier the more I lean into practicing it.

Continuing to shift professionally toward writing brings with it endless freedom, as it’s a totally location independent career. Which feels intoxicating and also terrifying. I can write and read from anywhere, including while exploring the mountains of NC. I’ve finally run out of excuses and am more willing than ever to allow myself to explore new experiences.

Just as New Orleans was an undeniable conversational topic prior to being there, the mountains have been strongly pulling me toward them for quite a while. It’s about time I chose to just go and explore that area. Continuing to embrace the new and unknown; while creating new memories for myself.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Embracing the Unknown”

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

 

Complicated Relationships

I have complicated relationships with many things in my life, even with some words. But there are three that are the most consistent: writing, sleep, and technology.

When asked to describe my relationship with writing, I can’t say that I love it. “It’s complicated” is much more accurate. Like an intense attraction and equally intense resistance to it. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? For me, writing doesn’t really involve choice; it’s simply something I must do. Storytelling isn’t something I sought out, it’s something that continues to choose me; regardless of how I feel about it.

Honestly, some days I actively despise writing and wish I could untangle myself from its grasp. I’ve tried, and it’s simply not possible. So I get to a place of thinking Fine, if I’m going to have to write, let’s just do it.

Right now, I’ve almost finished the final edits on my first memoir. The manuscript of which I’ve had for, oh, several months by now. I am so damn sick of this book. UGH!!! However, I’m also aware that I’m now into writing my third memoir, and in order to move on, this damn first one needs to be published. So I force myself to sit down and work on it. Ignoring all of my (very loud) internal protesting and just keep reading and writing.

Sleep and I have a long history of being complicated with one another. Starting way back while I was married, sleep and I are occasional acquaintances. Despite the fact that I do really love sleep, it seems we constantly have a push/pull connection with each other.

The most severe insomnia I’ve ever experienced led to some very productive writing. Funny how the two are related. I’m not sure when I slept at all during the first half of September 2017, but I do know that’s when I wrote one of my favorite parts of my first memoir. Contemplating whether there might be men who are compatible with me that I just haven’t met yet led to simply writing: Fuck. One of the favorite sentences I’ve ever written.

I’m currently not experiencing insomnia because I am sleeping…just at some rather interesting times. Often, I’m awake from 2 or 3am until daylight, when sometimes I have to put myself to bed. Sleep and I continue a complex relationship, but there is something I really like about that early morning time of day. It’s peaceful and quiet of the communication that is so prevalent during “normal” business hours.

Finally, probably my least favorite: technology. With this one, it’s definitely more of a love/hate dynamic at work. I do love and appreciate the ease of connection technology brings. At the same time, I hate the overwhelm of information and how easy it is for people to reach me.

From telemarketing sales companies to political campaigns, I find it disturbing how many people contact me. Many with the sole intent of selling me crap I don’t want or need. Fucking salespeople. And yes, I realize that as a real estate broker, I am one; cold calling and harassment have just never been my style.

When it comes to technology, I can admit that it’s brought about connection with people I would never otherwise have met. And I do see value in that. Instagram seems to be the most reliable resource for connections and I’ve even hired people through connecting on that platform, without having met them in person.

On the flip side, there is a creepy aspect to IG when some men try to use it as though it’s a dating site. It’s not. One message I recently received read, “Hi dear, how are you?” To which I thought Dude, who the hell are you and WHO replies to such a thing?  All I know is that I do not.

When it comes to technology, severely limiting notifications has helped. As has deleting apps and leaving places I no longer have profiles. I do use technology on a daily basis and appreciate that it allows me to record podcast episodes from home. I also appreciate the times that I get to silence my phone and simply be inaccessible for a while.

It seems likely that I’ll continue to have complicated relationships with writing, sleep, and technology. And I’m actually comfortable with that fact.

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

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

 

Letting Go of Excuses

In what seems to be the season of making large purchases, many are related to travel. I keep reminding myself that these are business expenses because they are…and I tend to forget that.

If change is truly the only constant, this new version of me is saying yes to things that are a bit surprising. Many of which involve travel to places I’ve never been before.

Since I’ve been single I have traveled, but it’s mainly been family related rather than inspired by what I want to do and where I want to go. That has certainly changed recently.

Instead of clinging to all of the excuses and reasons why I can’t go, lately it seems I’m choosing to say yes without questioning myself. Which has led to my name on plane tickets, hotel reservations, and the waiting list for a workshop I really want to attend.

Rather than holding myself back and staying in familiar routines, it seems I’m quite comfortable getting out of my own way and experiencing new places. Even when I’m traveling by myself.

I do love being at home, I work from home and it’s absolutely where I retreat when I need space apart from other people. But I also enjoy exploring new places. Letting go of excuses seems to be opening me up in unexpected ways, but I do like this version of myself.

She’s not at all fearless, but she’s much more bold and willing to trust her own sense of what feels right for her; and I love that.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Letting Go of Excuses”

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

Mining for Diamonds in the Darkness of Life Experiences

This year began with my writing about diamonds and mining for wisdom within life experience. It’s no coincidence that it is ending with a conversation about the same topic airing as one of my most recent podcast appearances.

Disrupt Now Program Episode 47: Mining for Diamonds is a personal favorite and very much what it’s like to have a conversation with me. It’s totally a recorded version of the conversations Natalie and I have with each other all the time.

This has been quite a year. And while there are definitely moments I would not want to go back and live again, there has been an immense amount of wisdom gained…much of it very unexpected.

While falling even more deeply in love with both writing and ghostwriting, I’ve realized I am passionate about ghostwriting with men. Turns out, there are not just great men in the world, there are men with meaningful stories and life experiences to share.

Men aren’t who I would have thought are an ideal client of mine, and although the realization arrived in some unexpected pathways, it is undeniable. I’ve always worked well with men and even within real estate transactions, I tend to get along easily with men in a cooperative broker or client capacity.

While ghostwriting for any client, it is inevitable that topics of grief, trauma, and healing will arise. The awareness that I’m not just willing but very skilled in navigating such topics is another gift uncovered this year.

These are conversations I’ve been having for what seems like forever, but the frequency and intensity of them has been amplified throughout this year. It is so very true; everyone has a story. And there is healing, connection, and so much courage in the sharing of those stories. For women, and for men too.

Copyright©2019 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Mining for Diamonds in the Darkness of Life Experiences”

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

 

 

 

Getting Unstuck

Writers block is very real, and it is beyond frustrating. My recent encounter with it has been one of the worst episodes I’ve ever experienced. I tried absolutely everything to alleviate it, and nothing worked. Locked in a massive battle with words, having things to say and knowing they’re right below the surface but won’t come through is maddening.

More than the typical productive procrastination, writers block is a special kind of agony. It’s the absolute worst. And it makes me rather irritable and cranky to say the least. A frustrated writer is no fun to be around.

What finally allowed me to move through this most recent bout arrived through another writer. And it involved playfulness. Through a guided activity, designed to loosen our grip on the pen and get out of our own way, I was finally able to move through and beyond the point that had been incessantly tripping me up.

The relief following getting unstuck is like a high, and maybe that’s part of what keeps us coming back to whatever creative endeavor we prefer. For me, it’s writing. I cannot stay away from words, nor can I escape them. Ironically, the point that had me so frustrated recently…involves words and the meaning we attach to them.

Much of the process involved in writing and publishing a book can be a lot of fun. It’s creative, unique, and very much a collaborative process. Much more collaborative than I ever realized, but I like that aspect of it. I’m as independent as I am collaborative.

At the same time, the process involves massive amounts of frustration. Points at which it feels like you’re making absolutely no progress and can’t see how to move forward. It feels impossibly hard and makes me want to throw the laptop at the wall, because…fuck this!

I was warned that I would reach a point of being totally and completely sick of the damn book I’m writing. Well, that point has certainly arrived. I’m sure there are more experiences of feeling completely stuck ahead. But I can keep using a variety of methods to move through them. Including a perspective of playfulness and curiosity, thanks to the reminder from another writer to get out of my own way, and loosen my grip on the pen.

Copyright©2019 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Getting Unstuck”

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

Storytelling

I recognize stories everywhere. Not just in people, but in places, things and experiences, even in houses. Perhaps its my perspective as a writer and storyteller that naturally illuminates this awareness. Or maybe its my intuitive sense of seeing beneath the obvious and reading between the lines.

I’ve recently felt as though I’ve been time-traveling, while finding myself in places and with people I’ve previously known. Recognizing history while also writing new stories and experiences in these familiar settings.

Since late January of this year, I’ve owned two businesses (writing and real estate) and these days I’m actively working in both careers. Most days switching from one to the other, and sometimes back in any given day. Clearly, I’m much more adaptable than I ever thought.

Stories are the common thread that both careers share. Houses have stories just as people do, and it’s kind of funny to recognize how often I’ve encountered houses where divorce is part of the current or past story of a house.

With writing and ghostwriting, I’ve realized that stories are the essential element and indicator of whether a potential project and client is a good match for me. I’m learning to pass on the ones that aren’t, which of course, frees me to focus on the ones that are truly fun and fascinating to engage with.

Stories are everywhere if you only notice them. From my jewelry, to my writing, to my friends and connections. Stories are the common and yet often invisible thread that tie so much together. I’ve said for years that people just tend to “tell me shit” and the reality is that we all have stories yearning to be witnessed.

As an empath and intuitive, I’m highly discerning about whose stories I fully witness. The ones that include reciprocal witnessing are absolutely everything to me. Stories are powerful beyond what words can ever convey, and being seen…..it’s pure magic.

There’s an image on my current vision board that I was recently reminded of and it reads: “You have a new story to write, and it looks nothing like your past“.

Tell your story, speak your truth and, above all else, take ownership of writing your next chapter. The pen is indeed in your hand, regardless of whether it’s you or a ghostwriter doing the actual writing.

For me, it’s never about the byline and always about the message that’s meaningful. Speak, share, create and express. Regardless of the pathway.

One of the most beautiful gifts of this year has been connecting with so many other writers who simply “get” what it’s like. Whether we’ve embraced this path from the beginning, or experienced a “fuck, I’m a writer” moment. These new connections have brought refreshingly inspiring energy into my life.

Copyright©2019 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Storytelling”

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