Facing Social Anxiety Again & A Publishing Talk




I promised my friend, the blogger Kitt O’Malley, that I’d write about a publishing talk I attended. Kitt, as you bravely navigate the BlogHer#16 conference today, this one’s for you!

I was fired up for the talk until my anxiety reared its hideous, soul-sucking head on the morning of the special event.


  I thought about bailing…


My name is Anxiety and I love to freak you out!


The talk was only a ten minute drive from my house. I made sure to bring my Rescue Remedy Plus lozenges which help alleviate my anxiety in a subtle way. They’re much healthier than benzodiazepines, they are sugar-free and non-addictive. The lozenges aren’t cheap ($8 for 10) but they are worth every penny and I love the taste. 

I figured I could maintain a low profile at the event and my social anxiety could take a back seat. I’d soon learn I was wrong about that assumption.

Although I have a book deal with Post Hill Press and I know some basic publishing tenets, I was curious to find out if I’d learn something new. 

I was anxious from the moment I showed up; even so, it felt good to sit in a room with other writers. I was proud of myself for getting out in the world again. 


I learned a few new facts and concepts that I found fascinating, such as the importance of gearing up for public speaking at book signing events. The presenter explained to us how much public speaking can make a significant difference in an author’s career.

I know how vital it is to have dynamic public speaking skills at book signings because of my husband Craig. He has given over 50 talks about his book Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West (University of Oklahoma Press).

Craig loves giving these talks, he’s a gifted speaker, he created an engaging PowerPoint presentation, and get this: he’s unafraid of audience members who like to argue with him about his book’s premise – even the obnoxious ones! The icing on the cake is that he has sold a lot of books at his talks.

Shameless Plug



These days I feel faint at the thought of getting up in front of a crowd, but since my book isn’t out until fall 2017, I’m shoving my fears aside for now.

The talk was scheduled to last an hour, but (unsurprisingly) it went overtime. I wanted to bail after sixty minutes because I was growing more anxious, so I missed the Q&A. In the past I would’ve stuck it out and suffered; this time I gave myself permission to leave because when it comes to my anxiety and public gatherings, I’ve decided to take baby steps .

On my way out the door, two encounters challenged me within five minutes – one bad and one good. 

The Adorable Collie 


As I rushed out the library entrance, I saw a gorgeous collie sitting ten feet away. The dog’s leash was tied to a post. I had to stop and gaze at the magnificent, mellow creature – this dog reminded me of my Scotch collie Lucy. I stayed for a few minutes and grew more and more livid that this collie’s DUMB owner left this beautiful dog by itself.

I was particularly sensitive because a month ago a dog was stolen in a nearby park with the owner only a few yards away from him! I still see flyers about his disappearance everywhere.

Anyone could have stolen this collie. I wanted to speak with the owner in a non-hostile way, explaining how this dog could be stolen in 10 seconds, or at least leave a note for the owner, but I’m ashamed to tell you I wanted to get going. I still regret leaving the collie without attaching a note to its fancy leash.


Meeting a Nice Writer with Bipolar


As I admired the lonesome collie, a man walked by us who I recognized from the seminar. He stopped and began chatting with me.

This is where my social anxiety kicked in big-time. As you know, I was anxious from the get-go, I was upset about the collie’s situation, and I wanted to be invisible.

I told him that I needed to jet back home and he acknowledged that politely. Then, in typical Dyane fashion, I blurted that I was aghast that someone would leave the collie there. He agreed. I began walking to my car and he joined me. I was comfortable with our brief “hi, bye” sort of talk.

As we crossed the parking lot, the writer asked me about my writing. All the while I wanted to get the hell out of there. I babbled my book’s premise (“Uh, it’s a memoir about one of the least-known forms of bipolar, postpartum bipolar…”) and he said he had bipolar as well. Well, that wasn’t something I heard every day in the library parking lot!

He’s working on a book about bipolar that sounds inspiring, so I gave him my hideous business card (I’ll include a photo of it in an upcoming post) and we’re going to keep in touch.

My friends, I felt SO dumb and anxious after this harmless interaction! I think that if I met that writer under different circumstances (i.e. when I wasn’t hopped up from being in an overcrowded room of writers, and when I wasn’t upset about an abandoned collie) my anxiety would’ve been lower.

Lose It! Update

My friend Bradley, author of the excellent blog Insights of A Bipolar Bear, is my Lose It! buddy.  We encourage one other through the Lose It! website. Pairing up with him has helped me immensely, both in attaining my weight loss goal and with maintenance.

If you’d like to join us, leave a message in the comment section, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and search for the “Wondrous Writers” group. We’d love to have more of you join us.


Next week I’ll be writing from the spectacularly beautiful Alpine Valley. Hopefully I won’t have any close encounters with bears like I’ve had in the past.

There’s nothing like looking in the eyes of a young bear to make one’s anxiety skyrocket!

I prefer to lock big brown eyes with Lucy…

Lucy Soul

take care & lots of love,



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






35 thoughts on “Facing Social Anxiety Again & A Publishing Talk

    • Thanks for always shining a bright light for me to follow – I love your encouragement, Michelle! Laurie said to start with what we’re most comfortable with, so I could do a talk for Lucy 🐕 and Craig and the chickens 🐓!

      Wishing you and that beautiful family of yours a fantastic weekend!!! ❤️💜💙

    • These conferences can be such a slippery slope for writers with bipolar disorder. I discovered that last year at the Catamaran Writer’s Conference. It was my first conference and I won a Fellowship Award Scholarship (which “made” me attend it, despite my growing anxiety) and if I didn’t receive such a generous gift, I might have bailed out at the last minute.

      While there I unexpectedly became hypomanic. My anxiety went out the window! But I knew I was running on fumes and playing with fire; thank God I had emergency Seroquel with me. I blogged about it here:


      Hopefully Kitt’s having a well-paced, productive, inspiring and fun time this very moment!

  1. Dy, thanks so much for the shout out. Walked out of a blog to book workshop just a few minutes ago. Too daunting a prospect for me at this time. But what they spoke of – the importance of having a strong message, point of view, & public speaking – all rang true. Without a doubt we both have purposeful writing. Stressed out not at the prospect of public speaking, but at the prospect of organizing and editing my writing into a book. Not ready yet. Enjoying a break, sitting by myself. Deep breath. Calming myself down.

    • You’re welcome! I’m so glad you’re having a great time there; I’m getting a kick out of those Instagrams….the blog-to-book workshop sounds like it was interesting. That reminds me of a talk I attended last year at the Catamaran Writers Conference. It was given by Nina Amir (author of “How To Blog A Book”) and she covered various writing-related topics apart from creating a book from one’s blog.

      I’m happy you took that break by yourself and did some deep breathing! I’m proud of you for doing all you can to make this a positive and healthy experience.

  2. Hey, Dyanne! I so wanted to go to the talk Saturday. I even had it on my IPhone calendar. Can you believe I totally spaced it out? I suffer from a bit of social anxiety myself and after this, I’m afraid I have senility as well! LOL! I was glad to read your summation of the workshop. There is such an array of publishing options available now and I am trying to write a novel at the moment so I’m thinking a bit ahead. I know if I get a publisher I would like them to be more involved that the one I have now. I feel like I have kind of missed the boat on a lot of book release opportunities (reviews, awards, etc.) although it’s probably just as much my own fault. I am not even blogging now. The “post” you saw was an attempt to update my website. It needs a total overhaul. You inspire me in that regard. I just don’t feel “bloggy” most of the time. Just dealing with my own stuff including an ongoing family crisis. Well, maybe both of us will make it to the next “thing” and finally get a chance to say “hi” in real life. Take care!

    • Hey Martha! First of all, my heart goes out to you with the ongoing family crisis. I am so deeply sorry……

      Thanks so much for taking time to comment. Oh, how I wish you were there at that workshop; sitting by you would have lowered my blood presssure, LOL! I feel like I know you even though we haven’t met in person yet! I think it’s only a matter of time when that happens.

      As you could probably tell, I glossed over Laurie’s workshop; i.e. I only touched upon the subjects/perspectives that were new to me.

      She reviewed how to write a book proposal, the challenges of pitching agents, and she gave us a few writing prompts that were meant to crystallize our writing goals.

      I also didn’t mean to sound negative about the independent publishing statistic – I should probably change that section because in my opinion, even if one “only” sells 50 books, lives can be changed.

      I have a couple friends who have done really well with self-publishing their books and it’s a wonderful option. I might do it myself at some point – never say never. I’ve checked out Balboa & She Writes Press and some other publishing companies, but their packages are $$$$. Last time I checked my bank account I had $1.50 in there, I kid you not. “Trust funder” is not my middle name! 😉

      One friend’s first book, a memoir, was self-published and it became a bona fide bestseller; her 2nd book was picked up by a publisher, but it didn’t do nearly as well as her first book. Go figure!

      I totally understand feeling “bloggy” vs. not feeling it! Please don’t be hard on yourself about that. I went for many ***years**** without blogging! When blogging no longer feels good, I’m taking a break.

      I wish I would’ve thought to drop you a line to let you know I’d be at Laurie’s talk. If I hear about any writing-themed cool events that I think you might be interested in, I’m going to let you know!

      You and your family will be in my prayers:) XOXO

  3. After reading this post, I wish I attended the talk. Hopefully she’ll give another presentation in this area soon. Thanks for sharing the info.

    • Thanks so much! I’d love to attend her new “Book Signings” seminar; maybe I could email the library director and give her a hint to ask Laurie Gibson back.

  4. I’m so proud of you, Dyane! The pic of the eggs is exactly how I’d feel in that kind of place, too. It doesn’t take much to suddenly feel like you should NOT be there, and everyone knows it, and it’s only a matter of time before people put your flaws in the spotlight. You kept yourself in check beautifully. I always get weirded out by people who approach me in parking lots, especially if they dare walk along with me to my car. I’d feel compelled to walk by a stranger’s car,and just, you know, dawdle, and maybe fake-puke, or start speaking in tongues, or just whatever to MAKE HIM LEAVE. And yet he was awesome! I’m so glad you two connected. Yeah,it would have been nicer had you two met differently, but at least you got a story out of it. Keep an eye on your cubs in the valley, Mama Bear! 🙂 xxxxxx

    • Awwww, thank you !

      I write this to you while drinking green tea and super-strong Peet’s Italian Roast (not simultaneously!) from beautiful West Lake Tahoe.

      We arrived here late last night after a loooong drive. It takes only 5-6 hrs to get here, but it felt like twice that long in a small car with lots of Bay Area traffic)

      Re: The Library Talk – yes, the chap I encountered seemed like a good egg (pun intended), and my car was super-close to the entrance, so I was okay with our ramble over to my trusty modern-day steed. I’m wary of strange men so if the car was far away I wouldn’t have hung out with him no matter how cool he seemed!

      Hope your Monday fares well, and thanks for your lovely words as usual!

      p.s. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for my cubs here because there are bona fide bears that live in this area. One of them visited this cabin’s front yard last week because some fool left some garbage out. Nothing bad happened, fortunately. I discovered this because the cabin’s owners keep a journal they encourage their guests to sign, and there was an entry about the bear encounter written in it. In any case, I’d like to give the local bears their well-deserved privacy! 😜🐻 💜

      • Mmm, double the beverage, double the fun! 🙂 I’m so happy you got to the cabin safe and sound. Enjoy some unplugged time with your little cubs. Take TONS of pictures so the rest of us can sigh and wish we were there. And yes–please give those other mama bears their privacy. 😉 xxxx

  5. This was a awesome read. I can relate so much. I love your illustration of the anxiety monster. I need to break up with him pronto. Proud of you for taking baby steps.

    • Thanks so much for writing that, 1diamondeva! Your words brightened my morning.

      I ***love*** your concept of breaking up with the anxiety monster!!! Yep, I’m going to try to follow in your wise footsteps! Baby steps first, then I’d love to take some big , ‘ol Godzilla steps and eradicate as much of that anxiety monster as possible! 😉 👹

      Take care – wishing you a good day! 💜

      • I’m just reading this Dyane! I’m glad to have brightened your morning. And I’m right there with you. Baby steps are better than no steps at all. It’s a process for sure. Hoping this finds you having a good week or day.

  6. Hey Dyane! Loved the article. Keep taking baby steps and try not to beat yourself up about what you couldn’t do. (eh… Pot calling the kettle black a little bit here). I think that you did amazing considering how you were feeling. Sometimes just showing up it’s an huge accomplishment

    • Thanks a million, sweet Leslie! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post! 😊

      I’ll keep it up with the baby steps as you suggest. I agree that sometimes walking out the door to show up at anything, even a coffee shop or the gas station, is huge, and those who haven’t struggled with depression and/or anxiety don’t understand why that’s such an enormous accomplishment. I’m relieved that *you* do “get it”, and your support is lovely.

      Wishing you a wonderful day. When I see a beautiful wildflower 🌺🌼🌸💐🌻(there are TONS up here in Tahoe blooming their hearts out this week) I’ll think of you.


  7. I admire you for writing a book. It is a big task that I have not the mental fortitude to complete. Someday I hope to put together a daily reflection book but it will be awhile.

    • Awww, thanks so much, WIL!

      I’ve wanted to throw in the towel with this overwhelming project many, many times (especially at 3:00 a.m.). I’ve been working on it for almost ten years, so I marvel at the prolific, gifted authors who can churn out book after book, year after yeare – and I’m envious of them too! 😉 I’m sure they have their own problems, and I wouldn’t want to take them on, but it’s easy to be “green” of their talent from afar.

      Anyway, I know that when you compile your daily reflection book (and I bet you will someday) you will do a fantastic job!

      all my best to you and yours,
      Dyane ☀️

  8. Dyane- your courage and perseverance shines through every line you write. Please keep sharing. So many people feel exactly what you feel and just want to be validated. We all have times when we yearn to someone wait patiently beside us, as we practice their self talk and gather our energy to take another step forward. Tahoe is a magical, renewing place. Peace😊

    • Thanks so much for your beautiful comment – it made me feel awesome!

      I promise you I’ll keep sharing! 😉 I cant help it, LOL!

      We’ve been back from Tahoe for 5 days and I must admit I miss it – it really is a special, magical & renewing place as you noted. I’m so grateful I’ve been able to spend time there.

      I hope you’re doing well, and I also hope that whatever you’re up to, you’re taking time to be extra-good to yourself because you rock!!!

      all my best,
      Dyane 🙂

  9. Anxiety is absolutely awful! I think its the worst part of the whole illness! And your dog is beautiful! My grandparents always had the same dogs, they have the best temperaments! Love your posts by the way!

    • Thanks so much for writing that; you made my day! Avonlea & I want to come visit you there someday; by the time we get over there we could babysit Alfie for you, LOL! Miss Lucy sends her best, by the way. 😉 ANd re: anxiety – oh, I loathe it! Rescue Remedy Plus homeopathic lozenges help me a bit (they cost around $8, not sure what that is in UK $) so I keep them in my purse. That’s very cool your grandparents had the same dogs. I really, really hope you’re sleeping well as I write this, and Alfie too – have a great Friday! 🌞

      • You and Avonlea are more than welcome to visit lol! Well, thanks to Miss Lucy- all the best to her too! 🙂 oooh we have rescue remedy over here but not sure if they have those specific products here, i’ll check it out! Sleep is a rare thing in this house, but he was slightly better last night! Thank you 🙂 have a fantastic day!! 😊

  10. Lady 2017 is here now and we can’t wait for the fall, four or so meagre months away. Start trying and you’re gonna be proud of yourself. Baby steps and give yourself permission to be you. Loads of love

    • Love you too!!!!!!
      I will start trying, no doubt!
      Lady Dy

      p.s. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to do LoseIt! – I wanted to feel better about myself while I stand in front of a group!

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