I like to lean in to the bowl of the diffuser. I'm not patient enough for the pixie curl method, but I'm also not prone to frizz.
I get weird shapes when I diffuse upside down, but I suspect I have shorter layers than you, so that explains it.
Honestly, it took me a long time to learn to get it right. An embarrassingly long time. Be patient with yourself.
Dogs and nature abhor a vacuum.