It’s World Insecure Writers Day!

Since there aren’t enough official “Days” and “Months” in the year, i.e.

World Bipolar Day and World Gourmet Donut Month,

I’ve decided to petition Congress for yet another day:

World Insecure Writers Day

Why not?

(Okay, okay, I’m kidding!)

Today’s post will be rather silly, superficial, and my personal favorite: whiny. (I hope you’ll enjoy reading it regardless of the content.)

A wise blogger once wrote, “Our blogs are the equivalent of our living rooms.” 

That quote resonates within me. 

Welcome to my living room – I vacuumed it just for you!

This is a time of year that breeds insecurity for me. While I love the fall, it’s also an unsettling reminder that I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar (bipolar, peripartum onset) in October, 2007. Even without my insecurity woes, I’d be waffling around in my soul.

In last week’s vlog I referred to a few incidents that were utterly ridiculous, but threw me for a loop. I promised to write about them this week, and true to my word, here goes:

First I was freaked out by an unpleasant, blog-related incident. Then I was unnerved by two writing-related schmuppywuppies. 

Schmuppywuppy means a weird coincidence that reminds one of yearned-for dreams that were never realized, touched with a soupcon of envy. It’s the dark, dreary side of wistful. It’s also a good name for a pet fish.

My Yucky Bloggy Bummer

After writing over 350 posts, I never had a single request from anyone to delete his/her name from a post. That changed last month. And the irony of the whole enchilada was that I only wrote glowing remarks about the person – damn, I’d love someone to write what I wrote about me. The way I saw it, I was giving the person’s services great P.R.

The reason for his request made no sense to me, or to Craig, or to the girls, or to Lucy or even to our new, erudite Asyrian hamster Copper. I’d write more, but since this person is local, I’ll leave it at that for now.

I realized the reason for this person’s request had to be STIGMA.

Yes, gruesome, bipolar-related stigma! (Don’t you think that could be a Halloween costume? STIGMA!)

My gut feeling was that this individual didn’t want anyone on the planet to think he had anything to do with a bipolar-related blog because — gasp — someone might think HE had bipolar too. (Perish the thought!)

As I mentioned, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it threw me all the same. Apart from the stigma theory, I couldn’t imagine what else could cause him to feel that way unless this person thought I was a sh*tty writer and wanted no assocation with my blog. Was I being paranoid? Yes.

I’d love your thoughts on this one…don’t hold back. (Well, maybe hold back a little bit. I’m so sensitive…)

What Was In My High School Water Fountain Drinking Water?

At least two people in my high school class of ’87 became best-selling authors. One author is a junior high friend I lost touch with when we attended separate colleges. Her name is Aimee Bender. (I’ve briefly mentioned her here.)  

41sApFenXrL._AC_US348_QL65_

Made into a feature film!

The other writer is Norman Ollestad; I only knew him in passing.

And this writer also attended my high school – you might have heard of her – but she was, and remains in a class all her own!

41aYAiLhihL._AC_US348_QL65_

 

So, a few days ago I received the latest e-letter from a publisher I admire named Counterpoint. I met the head of this publishing company last year at a writer’s conference. He was super-cool and even gave me useful advice. 

As usual, I scanned Counterpoint’s e-letter and I saw that they’re representing Norman’s second book. The newsletter editor went on and on about how fabulous a writer Norman is. (I’m sure he is brilliant, but I didn’t read his first book because I was too depresssed at the time.)

I’m happy for him because he has gone through hell, and he turned his agony into a bestseller.

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Suffice to say that when I saw Norman’s name in Counterpoint’s e-letter, and read accolade after accolade, I thought, Look at him, he’s the type of author you’ll never be: super-successful!!!

That thought came and went because even though I’m not going to get on the NYT list, I can make peace with that. It’s just all the other writing-related insecurities I have a problem with handling well.

The last thing that happened was kind of funny.  

There are a lot of writers in this area, but most of them aren’t professional and they do it as a hobby. There are many independently published local books with titles such as The Magic of CannabisJerry Garcia Is God, and How I Found Myself Dancing in the Pagan Rain

After my girls’ school started last week, I read all the introductory material from their teachers. One teacher’s welcome letter particularly interested me because she wrote her husband is an author whose newest book is coming out soon. I snarkily thought, I bet his book is called Banana Slugs and Me – A Love Story or something like that!

Of course I Googled the author’s name to discover that he had a big-time agent, a glitzy website, an exciting book tour, and, to top it off, his book is being published by one of my dream publishers.

This publisher is the one that famously took a big, controversial chance on publishing Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, who is one of my favorite authors. (The publisher is Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, now a division of MacMillan.)

After reading the author’s lengthy bio, I found out that some of his previous books were compared to my junior high classmate Aimee Bender. Small world, eh?

What can I learn from all this?

What might you learn from any of this?

It’s okay to be jealous, and it’s okay to be petty, but keep on moving. 

Keep on writing, or keep on doing whatever you enjoy, even when you get insecure about your ability. Move through those negative thoughts, distract yourself, do anything but linger in the great sinkhole of envy and insecurity because these thoughts can drain the spark out of us faster than when Lucy chases after a squirrel.

Take a lesson from Arrow’s song Groove Master from The Mighty Quinn soundtrack. Arrow reminds us to keep on moving! (If you haven’t seen The Mighty Quinn, you need to put it on your bucket list.) 

I know there has to be another lesson to learn from the recent events, but I have to pick up the kids at school. I’ll let you know if anything comes to mind next Friday. In the meantime, happy September!

XoXo

Keep on groovin’,

Dyane

Lose It! – We’re Losers and We Like It!!

My friend Bradley, author of the excellent Insights of A Bipolar Bear and I are continuing to use Lose It!’s website. We encourage one another to reach our goals, especially now that it’s harder to eat well for a myriad of reasons. If you’d like to join us, leave a message in the comment section or sign up for free at www.loseit.com. Search for the “Wondrous Writers group”.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

 

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40 thoughts on “It’s World Insecure Writers Day!

  1. I’d rather be infinitely rich than even moderately famous. As for followers, I’m content with my relatively small numbers and if someone quits, I never said I wrote anything worthwhile so I get it. And as for getting published, I don’t know what book I should write, but I’m sure it’ll be completely awful in my own hack-writer way. Got any title and word count suggestions or ideas based on what you see on NombredelaPluma.wordpress.com? (And, you can promote me if I ever do it.)

    1. I have no problem with infinite riches! 🙂 Fame seems overrated, and I’ve observed from a very good source that it can be.

      I didn’t think I’d write a book during my twenties and most of my thirties, but then I changed my wicked ways and did it, so you never know what’s in store for you! 🙂

      You can write ***VERY well***, Senor Pen Name, so I absolutely doubt that anything you’d write would be awful & hack-ish.

      As far as titles and word count suggestions and ideas go (oh my!) my brain is tapped out, BUT…. if you go for it, I give you my solemn and mighty word that I’ll happily promote the hell out of your work, gratis.

    1. I can’t thank you enough for letting me know, my dear. I just commented over there and mentioned you, so I hope you check it out when you can. sending you lots of love. :((((

  2. One of the best books on bipolar is “An Unquiet Mind”. It was the only literature I could find when my daughter was diagnosed in 2003 that gave me any sort of understanding and peace of mind. I was able to see the other side of the coin, that, yes, it’s an illness, but it’s also the underpinning of genius and creativity.

  3. Ahhh…that thorn in our side, Comparison. I know it well. I’m sorry you’re having an insecure writer’s week. Is damn mercury in retrograde? Did we already discuss this? I think we did. My pal, Ani, and I have been saying this all week to any and everything that doesn’t go our way. “Mercury’s in Retrograde…that’s the problem.” You are an amazing writer with an important story to tell. Who the heck knows why that person asked to be taken off your comment thread. It COULD be stigma. It could be a number of reasons that would make no sense to us. Move on. I say that in the most loving, empathic way. Be you. Do Dyane. Even when you’re an uber successful writer, there will be critics. It sucks. Keep writing. I struggle with this, too, but in different ways. Writing feels like the ONLY thing I’ve ever done remotely well. Therefore, criticism, even the most constructive, shakes me to my core. It’s like OH MY GOD IF I CAN’T WRITE THERE’S NOTHING LEFT!!!!. And then I get up and write some more. As for others having success…well…again, there’s no timeline that we’re all to follow. Thank the stars for that or I’d really be in trouble. You’re smart, spirited, interesting and fun. Keep being you, friend. xoxo

    1. I was feeling pretty gross last night. I’ll give you one word that will explain why: timeofthemonth! (yes that’s one word! 😉 then I read your comment, and to quote a mediocre writer by the name of William Shakespeare, “yet in these thoughts, myself almost despising, haply I think on thee and then my state ( like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate”. Although that sonnet was directed towards a romantic love, I felt the same way as the man in sonnet #29 did after I read your comment, i.e. I felt much better and lifted up. I’ll let all the other crap go, follow your wise, gentle advice, & I’ll continue to remember your comment when I hit low spots.Regarding the last part that you wrote, well, I might get it tattooed on my fingers! And I can say the same thing about you that you so graciously wrote about me: you’re smart, spirited, interesting, and fun, and by the way, have I told you lately that you’re a mega-awesome writer?

  4. I’m dealing with a lot of intrusive thoughts today relating to my OCD and the advice in this post actually helped me a lot even though you were addressing something different. Thank you! Love this post.

    1. THANK YOU August!!!!! Wow – your comment completely made my Friday! p.s. I love your name; my little girl was born August 26th! Anything August-related rocks. ❤️

  5. Oooooooooooooooooh yes, I’ve had a similar experience, but as a teacher. A student sent an email to me yesterday that my feedback on her final project was offensive because I remarked she had no understanding of the English language, and that clearly, *I* was the one who didn’t get. Totally stumped, I went through my comments and saw…oh, look at that. I asked her not to plagiarize her paper and redo it. The learning assessments connected to her grade commented on troubles with language, though. So, I made the clarification to her, and re-explained the plagiarism (she had copied and pasted from two websites for nearly the whole paper. Ugh.) with an offering to help her redo it. Surprise surprise, she didn’t write back…

    As for the writer’s jealousy, well. I see so many of you around me with books coming or completed, and I know you’re working on yours, but you’re still DOING IT. It WILL be published. And I look at all the half-finished things around me, and feel like I can’t hope for that, because publishing means seeing something through to the end.

    But like you said, writer’s jealousy happens. It comes in different forms, and it doesn’t HAVE to be evil. We can use it to spur ourselves on, prove to those best-selling classmates (I have one, too!) that we’ve got something worth reading, too. It’s when we use that jealousy to put bricks on the computer like a gravestone and carve “Here layeth my dreams” that the jealousy turns poisonous.

    Don’t let it turn to poison, Dyane. You WILL DO THIS! xxxxx

    1. I couldn’t believe what you went through with that pesky student, Jean! Wow! 😱 You are such a great teacher, in part, because I imagine you could’ve reported her to your school’s admin. for plagiarism but you didn’t. You wanted to help her! Too bad she didn’t take you up on your (super-generous) offer! (Maybe she has by now – that would be very cool. But something tells me she needs a serious wake-up call first.)

      Re: Books 📖 & such: As I wrote to bettyrocker18 below, while I’m thrilled to have secured the book contract, I won’t be a jolly gal until the publisher accepts my MS which is due in, oh, just 26 days!

      I’m much older than you (46.5) and I remind you of this fact because I think that you WILL have a book published. I feel it in my weary bones. You are incredibly talented (if you don’t believe me, look at all the comments you get on your blog!) and your writing has something I envy, which I’ll state for the record yet again. Your writing is imbued with a lyrical, flowing quality that you simply can’t learn in a class.

      That’s not to say that non-lyrical writing sucks – there’s a place for both types, and you & I know that. But if I had a choice……anyhoo, your latest blog post. OMG. I read it. I was stunned. I had no idea about those particular struggles since I’m a relative newbie. I started to write a comment and then the room’s blessed silence was broken with:

      “MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMY! I NEEEEEEEEEED YOU!”

      I lost the damn comment. I’ll be back there at your blog, no doubt, and if I’m mommied like that again, I’ll quickly copy & paste the half-written comment into a sticky. I love stickies.

      Speaking of love, here’s a big, ‘ol hug, my friend.💖 I’m so grateful that you’re in my life!!!!!! If you ever get tired of your ‘hood, come over to Ben Lomond, a curious mix of Silicon Valley billionaires, meth/cannabis heads, and yours truly. And Lucy, who probably knows more than we ever will know, and who could write a New York Times bestseller if only she could type. 🐕

      1. Oh, I am sure Lucy does. Dogs have an amazing sense of the world, and are just as sensitive to its changes. My parents’ dog never recovered emotionally from my father’s death. He’s grown ornery with my mom, snapping and growling. He’s fine with the kids, even when Bash screams and runs in fear, but you can tell: he’s angry his friend is gone, and he’s stuck with, well, her. (My mother is not a source for what one would call “fun.”)
        Ah, your MS deadline. Honestly? I’m not worried. I figure if *I* get worried, that worry-wave will ripple out to you, then bounce back to me magnified, and bounce back to you, etc. So I’m just going to KNOW you’ll finish it, and it will be awesome. I was just telling Bo more about you, and what you’ve gone through, and he was really impressed. 🙂 I know I can’t stop the tummy aches and frantic rummages for chocolate chips (that’s MY naughty coping food), but I see you breathing out and falling back into your chair as the “Message Sent” goes to your publisher. I’m going to consider it a vision of things to come. 🙂 xxxx

        PS: yeah, surprise surprise that student never got back to me, but ANOTHER student who hasn’t done anything since July now wants to pass the class in just, um, ten days. (sigh)

      2. Hey there, my talented friend, I just read this comment of yours, and I’m thinking of you! I’m honored you told Bo more about me!!!(I’ve done the same with Craig here, and of course I sing your praises to Lucy all the time!)
        I’m so sorry your parent’s dog grieved over your father’s death; it’s completely understandable. I’m glad he’s okay with Biff, Bash & Blondie, though…

        Too bad about the student missing the opportunity to make things right, and as far as the student who has couch surfed since July is concerned, whaaaaaat???? I don’t know how you do it with even one of those freaky-deaky scenarios, let alone multiple ones!

        Too bad you don’t have a dungeon under the classroom for them where they can repent for their sins! (I’m already imbued with the gruesome side of the Halloween spirit, can’t you tell?) It’s my fave day of the year. I should’ve made the deadline on Halloween, DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dead-line – get it?????? Yuk yuk yuk!!!!!!!!

  6. I went through a very similar situation just two days ago. I found myself inexplicably browsing the very fancy website of my friend from college who not only immediately got a job upon graduation at the Wall Street Journal and then the New York Times, she is now a NYT bestselling published author. And that all happened before she turned 30 😮 Talk about envy. I don’t even know what made me revisit her site but I felt soooooo bad about myself afterwards. I love your advice to just keep moving forward. Also, a huge congratulations to you on getting your first book published!!! I’m afraid you’ve overlooked this major accomplishment during World Insecure Writers Day 😉

    1. Wow, bettyrocker18 – I read your comment about your college friend’s success with *great* interest! If that was my old friend, I’d turn deep, deep green AND I’d feel less than zero after visiting her site too! 😓

      Well, speaking of the color green, I thought of that great idiom: “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. While your friend and my former friend/acquaintances are experiencing ginormous success, they have experienced great sorrow. If they haven’t yet been through hell, they will, since it’s part of life. I don’t wish that sorrow on them, mind you, I just try to remember that while X. is #1 on the NYT list, that status doesn’t solve all of life’s problems. (And then I go back to thinking the “woe is me” crap, LOL!!!!!!!!!)

      Thanks for recognizing the good news about my book! To be honest with you, until the thing is actually published, it doesn’t feel legitimate. (But I’m stoked that it has gotten this far, don’t get me wrong!!!!! 😉

      I hope you have a good day, and I’m sending you a big hug right….now!!!! ✨
      (There was no hug emoji, drat!) 😜

  7. I know it’s incredibly hard to not compare yourself to other people (I do it all the time) but it does little good. The only person that you can reasonably compare yourself to is yourself.

    And, I agree with Kitt as well, there’s not really any way to know why this person wants to separate themselves from your blog. Don’t worry about it. You can’t control it.

    Another great post Dyane!

    1. Oh Leslie, I’m soooo tired of the comparing game.
      But it seems it’s inevitable in this society. (I’m sounding rather pompous there, but you know what I mean!) At least I’m done with thinking about the guy who didn’t want good P.R. (Remember the famous quote “there is no such thing as bad publicity”?) I’ve moved on to thinking about a fresh batch of insecurities and freak-outs, LOL! 😱

      Thanks for your wonderful support; I’m send you a virtual bouquet: 💐
      I hope you’re doing well and that you have a good Sunday! 💗Dy

  8. That so weird that someone would want to remove their name from your site. I am absolutely certain it has nothing to do with your writing. You’re obviously fantastic – you have a successful blog and a book deal! If this person was afraid of the stigma of Bipolar, he clearly posted on the wrong blog (hello – “Proudly Bipolar”)! You have nothing to feel insecure about, dear, I promise!

    BTW – “An Unquiet Mind” was the first Bipolar memoir I ever read and I was blown away with how much it resonated with me. AND Alice Cooper rocks! LOL

    1. Thank you 😊 for agreeing with me about the weirdness of what happened with my blog “objector”, LOL! While I didn’t ask the guy for permission to post about his work (lesson learned) I thought he’d be happy with what I wrote. Oh well.

      Thanks for the super-kind compliments – I lap them up the way that Lucy gobbles a gourmet doggie treat! 🐶

      How fun to see you think Alice Cooper rocks! Despite Alice Cooper’s scary makeup & freaky stage sets 😱, he really is a talented musician. I didn’t know that until a college friend introduced me to the “Welcome to My Nightmare” album. I love how Alice’s real name is Vincent and I think it’s cool he had another talented Vincent — Vincent Price– on his album.

      I hope you are all having a great weekend, and that you’re getting some time for yourself, Supermommy!!! 💝

  9. Lady, I second Kitt’s both comments. I love your posts and look forward to your memoir. I also love how you end all posts henceforth with the “Lose It” prompt, you know it could equally serve in several other areas like the mind muggles you had or have… we all do every now and then – let’s keep trying to “Lose It”. Hopefully someday we’ll get to a big bright & better bend 🙂

    1. Lady Marie, on an unrelated note, that amazing prayer you emailed me made me almost cry. 🙏
      ***Thank you*** for taking the time to do that. 👍I needed those words so badly from a friend who understands EXACTLY what we’re dealing with. I had a good talk with my therapist about the whole thing too.

      You are SO right about how “Lose It!” could be applied to other areas in our lives, and that’s what we might do to find more peace, right? Right!

      Yes, hopefully we’ll get to that big, bright and better bend!!!!! Thanks for your encouragement now and during the past few years – it has been a precious gift! 🎁
      Sending you 💗always, Dy

  10. I think you should continue to write for you. As long as you enjoy what you do (even if it gives your trepidation at times) then you are successful in so many ways. I think it is natural to assume the worst but at the end of the day you cannot control how other people react to things, only mitigate how you respond to it.

    You’re awesome, ’nuff said. *boom* drop the mic, walking away with attitude.

    1. The last sentence you wrote made me grin, Vic! Thanks, I needed that. 😊
      And I’ll be over to JPOV to give you my two cents about that 1st date of your daughter’s – gulp 🙀- – I hope you write about how it went from your perpsective SOON! (Maybe you already did!) Okay, off I go to see the latest and the greatest at Just Plain Ol’ Vic.

      p.s. Thanks for the two cents you shared up above. You’re right!

  11. Oh, gosh. Me too: I was famous for always assuming the worst. The thing that I read yesterday–about our flaws being our gifts because overcoming them is such a victory-I’m holding that up as a banner. This is about joining arms and becoming courageous…all of us. You’ve got talent, kiddo. 🙂 Write on!

    1. Lovely Miralianna, “our flaws being our gifts because overcoming them is such a victory” is *such* a great reminder! Thank you for remembering that!

      And the image of joining arms together 👩‍👩‍👦‍👦and becoming courageous is truly beautiful and empowering! Thanks again for taking the time to share such helpful thoughts with me, and for your kind words too. 👍
      I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!!!! 💖

  12. I’m movin’ and groovin’ and you should, too.🎼 🎹 🎷 Just keep writing, do what you do, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else or their success. They probably have insecurities 💭 and horror stories to tell,👾 but they kept going. And one day, folks noticed.🌟 💫 Success came, and so it goes.🎇 🎆 🌈

    Just wait and see. 🎊 🎉

    We believe in you, Dyane. Join the club. ❤️ 💛 💙 💜

    1. This is the best collection of emojis yet, Van! 🚐 You find the perfect ones!
      Your comment lifted my soul as much as Arrow’s “Groove Master” did! 👍😊
      Thanks for helping me keep on movin’ & groovin’! 🎵
      Someday I’ll head over to your neck of the woods, 🌲 and we can have a picnic down by the river! 😛

      Hope your weekend is going well, and I send you lots of 💓
      💜💙❤️ Dy

  13. Dy, honestly, there is no way to truly know why that writer wanted to be removed from your site. They may want ownership and control of their social media presence. Who knows? Stigma is certainly a possibility, but don’t assume so. Just keep focused on your goal, on your writing. No reason for us to compare ourselves to others. Just feeds insecurity. Don’t feed that monster.

    1. Hey Lady K! (I also like “Special K” as you know!) As usual, you have fantastic, spot-on advice. I shall focus on writing and starve the dreaded insecurity monster!

      When it comes to why the person wanted his name removed, only The Shadow knows….and I can’t resist posting this link – hopefully it’ll work.

  14. Okay, if you are comparing yourself to people like Kay Redfield Jameson, of COURSE you are feeling insecure! Dyane, you write beautifully and you have a very, very important story to tell. I keep telling you, you are going to be famous! 🙂

    1. When I read this comment, I laughed at the “famous” part, Sharon! 😉
      I just want to make a positive difference; no fame required.
      But my ego loves ❤️ that you wrote such a thing, ha ha!
      While I wasn’t comparing myself to Dr. Jamison (she’s in the stratosphere) I was comparing myself to my classmates who are my age. In any case, I’m going to do my best to cut down on this lame “compare-itis” syndrome!

      I read your latest book update as soon as I saw it published. I definitely plan to return to your blog this weekend so I can comment. It’s SO cool to follow the journey of your unique book. I lucked out the day I came across “Despair to Deliverance”!!!

  15. Other than my husband, Maurice, I always change the names of the people I mention in my blog. Otherwise I’d feel the necessity of asking for their permission and just changing the name is easier.

    One thing I see a lot of bloggers do is use just a letter. For example, if I were to do so with Maurice, I’d write something like, “It’s a beautiful day and M and I drove to the desert to see his parents.” Personally, I don’t like the single letter thing at all. First, it prevents me from feeling a connection with the person. In addition, it makes it harder for me to remember who is who. For example, if they refer to their wife as S, their children as C and Q, their best friend as W, and their neighbor as H…you get the idea.

    Keep up the good work on your writing. I look forward to reading your book when it’s released. I’m busy with mine too.

    1. I love this comment of yours, Bradley. I could’ve used a different name or even use the initial (which I’m not a fan of using for the exact reasons that you explain so well) but the whole point of the section was to promote his work, especially since we both live in the same community. Normally I’d ask the particular individual for permission before publishing such a piece, but in this case I naively assumed that he’d be thrilled with what I wrote. Of course I’m dying to quote him verbatim as to what his reason was, but you get the gist. I’ll follow my own advice and move on. In future posts I’ll feature cooler people such as yourself, but I’ll be getting your blessing first, LOL!

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