“When Writing Feels August” GUEST POST by TAMI KAMIN MEYER
As a freelance writer with many years of experience, I have written many things. News stories, feature articles, blog posts, essays, emails, social media posts, press releases and more.
More often than not, I write without an outline. The words flow directly from my brain to my fingertips, and I am merely the mechanism for that transfer.
While that harmonious flow is an amazing feeling, it doesn’t guarantee the mass of content I just spewed makes any sense.
You see, I don’t know what led me to journalism and writing. The first time I used the noun and adjective ‘writer’ to describe myself was as a high school senior, when our drama teacher tasked my classmates and I with creating a pictorial collage that captured our essence.
I recall gluing the word ‘writer’ on my collage, but literally do not know why I choose that word. To date, I hadn’t written anything of note, and I didn’t think of myself as a writer, either. I didn’t enjoy reading very much and, other than Judy Blume, didn’t care for many authors.
Still, while my sub-conscious must have known something about my covert desire and ability to write, it sure didn’t mention anything to me.
I am in a zone . . .
. . . when the words flow from my brain to my fingertips, transforming them from random thoughts into concrete language right before my eyes. It is magical, mysterious and exciting. I never know when that utopia will recur, but one of my interview techniques is designed to encourage it as often as possible.
I do not record my interviews, whether by phone, in person or otherwise. People have cautioned me not to skip recording, but I find I do not listen as well when I know the conversation is being recorded.
Another reason I prefer to listen intently and take copious notes rather than record a call is that my notes are more accurate that way. I pay rapt attention. And, if I’m lucky, the interviewee’s quotes and comments inform me how to use them in an article. When that happens, and it is rare, it is like being overtaken by a waterfall. My fingers become a conduit commanded to type the letters creating the words and punctuating the sentences of whatever I’m writing.
Is there something you do that brings you absolute joy? As for me, I will continue to be august about writing and the written word.
This essay first appeared in the August 2021 issue of Write Now Columbus. Subscribe here.
May You Be Well
by Tami Kamin Meyer, Editor of Write Now Columbus
This post also appeared in Write Now Columbus, May 2021.
Writing has been a huge part of my life for nearly four decades. It has afforded me unique and cherished opportunities like meeting and interviewing baseball legend Hank Aaron, interviewing and subsequently befriending best-selling authors like Brad Meltzer and Neal Karlen and visiting destinations throughout the US for various travel articles.
But, my absolutely most coveted reason I am thankful to be a writer is that it brought Bradley Wayne McFarland into my life.
Newly divorced in early 2013, I decided to look for a new platonic friend on the now-banned Craigslist’s section for people seeking new pals. One post, in particular, caught my attention.
The headline read: “Writer/Editor Wanted.”
Why was someone advertising a writing opportunity in the platonic section of Craigslist, I thought to myself.
Of course, I clicked on the ad. As a freelance writer and editor, I’m eternally searching for new opportunities, even if my calendar is full and my brain exploding. That’s what we do. We hustle. We scour for the next opportunity.
I opened the page and was immediately struck by the two color photographs this would-be employer posted of himself in the post. “Why would an employer post their picture?” I thought to myself. On the other hand, he was incredibly handsome, so my interest was definitely piqued.
His note explained how he had a story in mind for a book he had been trying to write, but he didn’t know anything about the publishing industry. Nor editing. Nor writing, for that matter.
Knowing I was qualified to help, I responded to his ad, regaling him with my various qualifications and eagerness to assist. However, I also knew how adorable I thought he was, and how that would definitely be distracting for me. While I would not advise this to anyone else, I added the following to the end of my introductory email: “If you are gay or married, please do not respond. You are too cute to work with.”
Much to my surprise, he answered quickly. We exchanged phone numbers to discuss the opportunity further, and then made plans to meet that evening to delve deeper.
We met at a coffee shop on North High Street in Columbus that since became a Mexican restaurant that among our favorite eateries.
He walked in and strode confidently towards me. I stood up to greet him and started to hold out my right hand to shake his, but his right hand did not meet mine. Instead, he placed it delicately in my small of my back, pulled me close and kissed me, full on the lips.
I distinctly recall my reaction, having just been kissed by a gorgeous stranger I thought was going to interview me for a job. I stepped back and said, “Hey, what kind of job am I interviewing for, anyway?” His sparkly blue eyes shined and he smiled as he sat in a chair next to the couch where I had been sitting a moment before. Momentarily, he seemed in a trance. He was slowly rubbing his palms on his thighs back and forth as he quietly and repeatedly murmured, “Thank goodness that’s over with. Now I can be myself.”
I laughed. “Well, what would I have gotten if you didn’t like what you saw?” I asked, smiling.
Without skipping a beat, he responded, “You would have gotten a hug.”
That was my beloved Brad.
I met Brad on May 3, 2013. We dated exclusively from that kiss on, and enjoyed a healthy, supportive and happy relationship for which I am eternally grateful. He was my best friend, greatest cheerleader and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
Horrifically, Brad died suddenly on May 3, 2019 while we were in New York City celebrating our sixth anniversary. We had traveled to my favorite city in the world, one that was growing on my rural-loving boyfriend, to enjoy Broadway, stuff ourselves with yummy dumplings in Chinatown and more.
May 3 will be bittersweet to me for the rest of my life. Brad isn’t here to support me in the physical world, but I still feel his love and encouragement. He consistently wanted the best for me, which made me believe I deserved it. It also became our little joke that no, I never did help him write that book, but he was going to stick around to see if I ever would.
While certainly I would much rather Brad be here with me than being my Angel in Heaven, meeting him because I happen to be a writer empowers me to continue on the path that led me to him in the first place.
(c)Tami Kamin Meyer, 2021, all rights reserved
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Write Now Columbus – January 2021
I feel a rush of emotions as I compose this note. Excitement about being a part of the Write Now Columbus team. Pride for being selected for this opportunity. And, of course, concern about whether I am up to the task.
I have been receiving the Write Now Columbus newsletter since its inception 20 years ago. I recall feeling excited such an abundant resource existed and pride about living in a city where the literary scene is active enough to warrant such a publication.
Over the years, I have marveled at the amount of information disseminated in the seemingly simplistic newsletter. Now that Nita has generously welcomed me into the world of creating Write Now Columbus, I am literally blown away at the vast number of meticulous details, software concerns, editorial considerations and more that Nita has patiently dealt with, alone for the most part, the past 18 years. Creating this newsletter every month is a labor of love for her, and one that leads her to spend her own money to fund it. It’s not surprising this endeavor isn’t a moneymaker, but it would be great to be able to offer this community service and not have to pay for it out of pocket to boot. Therefore, we are discussing different ways to monetize the newsletter. Not to get rich (although that would be okay), but to ensure that creating this much-needed resource isn’t a financial drain on those of us publishing it. If you have ever attended an event or learned something useful from this monthly endeavor, would you be willing to pay up to $2 a month to support it?
My bio, in a nutshell: I grew up in Cincinnati, and graduated from UC with a BA in Communication Arts and a minor in Journalism. Geraldine Ferraro’s campaign for Vice-President as Walter Mondale’s running mate inspired me to pursue a career in law, but my passion for writing has never wavered. I am the proud mom of two sons, one a sports journalist and other a Journalism major in college. I’m crazy about dogs, kayaking, watching sports and the cultural arts, so, like most people, I anticipate the days when mask-wearing is again relegated to bank robbers and Halloween.
Writing has brought opportunities I would not have experienced had I not been a wordsmith. I’ve met and interviewed fascinating people, like baseball great Hank Aaron, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz and civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred. Writing has also led to countless all-nighters, the need to accept rejection gracefully and the euphoria of landing a prized assignment. For this freelancer, all the inconvenience, doubt and schedule-juggling wrought by my chosen profession is beyond worth it.
Both Nita and I welcome your comments, suggestions, and of course, your financial support, as well. We are thrilled to produce this monthly resource that so many have come to rely on for its newsworthiness, accuracy and usefulness.
But, for now, I must nap. It’s the middle of the day, optimum time for a quick snooze.
Write on and enjoy your January. And now, over to Nita.
~ Tami, Editor
(c)Tami Kamin Meyer, 2021, all rights reserved
First, a HUGE thank you to Tami for joining this wild adventure. She’s getting the crash course, showing her smarts right away.
Second, another HUGE THANK YOU to Tami for securing our first paid sponsorship! Yay!
This month’s newsletter includes eighteen events showing the continued impact of the pandemic on local literary businesses. Please keep up your support as they will need it even more now that the holiday sales season is over. Use the bookstore locator at our WNC Bookshop to help your local bookshop and Write Now Columbus as well.
I rarely spotlight individual events, but this month one community-wide event merits highlighting: One Book, One Community: Author Jason Reynolds. Several area libraries joined together to encourage us to read Reynolds’ book Stamped and bring him to our living rooms for a vital discussion. I hope you’ll join this important effort.
THREE WAYS TO HEAL YOUR MIND
To read about the three wellness modes that keep me on the planet, download your copy of Three Ways to Heal Your Mind.
MIND, MOOD, AND MOVEMENT
We’re 200 strong and growing over at my Facebook group, Mind, Mood, and Movement. If writing practice, mindfulness meditation, movement, and occasional challenges as wellness tools interest you, please join us.
You folks are amazing! Thank you for so many positive reviews and ratings of Depression Hates a Moving Target and You Should Be Writing. If you enjoyed either book and haven’t had a chance to leave a positive review or rating on your favorite site, I’d love it if you would. When your book comes out, you’ll understand the importance of reviews.
ASK TAMI and I ANYTHING
And finally, while Tami and I haven’t yet launched our youtube channel (Oops. Tami. I forgot to tell you that song and dance were required,) we’re happy to answer your questions. Email is always the best way to reach us.
Take care and be well.
Nita Sweeney, Publisher
(c)Nita Sweeney, 2021, all rights reserved
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: If you purchase anything from the affiliate links on this page or in this email, Write Now Columbus will receive a portion of the proceeds. This helps us keep the website up and the internet on.
THANK YOU TO THIS MONTH’S SPONSOR, TOMORROW and TOMORROW
Tomorrow and Tomorrow
is a new anthology of writing and visual art, headquartered in Columbus. Our inaugural volume will be published in print in Spring 2021. We’re currently seeking short stories, poems, essays, personal narratives, memoirs, and short plays, as well as photographs and other visual art. We are also excited about work that blurs the lines between—or exists completely outside of—those categories. Our submission deadline has just been extended to February 1, 2021. For more information, please visit our website
, where you can also find links to our Facebook and Instagram pages. We’d love to read your work!
If you or your organization would like to sponsor an issue of Write Now Columbus, the fee is $10 per issue or $25 for three. Contact Nita or Tami at email@example.com for more information.
|DONATIONS to Write Now Columbus are gratefully accepted. To Donate, Click Here.
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CHECK OUT Nita’s EVENTS: The place to view them on one convenient page.
Read the ARCHIVES. Previous Write Now Columbus essays are archived on Nita’s website.
THE FINE PRINT
You received this newsletter either because you signed up for it at nitasweeney.com/newsletter, on Nita’s Facebook Page, or by replying to an invitation. If you do not want to continue receiving it, see “Get off the List,” below.
STAY ON THE LIST: If your email address changes and you still want to receive the newsletter, email me. This may seem obvious, but if you’re like me, the havoc of changing something as essential as an email address may cause you to lose sight of other important things (like a monthly writing newsletter).
GET OFF THE LIST: Click here to avoid receiving future emails from us.
SUBMISSIONS: Write Now Columbus accepts submissions of writing events, on-going writing groups and open mics only. We do not currently accept articles, markets, or contests except through sponsorship. Please send an email with date, time, place, cost and contact information. We reserve the right to revise submissions and press releases.
DEADLINE: Write Now Columbus is published on the 3rd of each month. If you want an event to be on the calendar before the monthly email goes out, please send it before the 25th of the month unless the event is on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. For those dates, please submit it the month before. (e.g. For a May 4th event, submit by April 25th. For a May 3rd event, submit by the March 25th.) But please send events any time. We can add them to the calendar whenever you send them.
SUGGESTIONS or COMMENTS: Please email us with ideas, quotations, or formatting tips that might make this newsletter more readable, manageable, helpful, workable. It’s your newsletter. We’re just typing. You may contact Nita via snail mail at: 3801 Norbrook Drive, Columbus, OH 43220 or either of us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PARANOID EX-LAWYER’S RELEASE: OMG! OMG! I’m so excited. Tami is fabulous. But we’re still getting to know our way around this working together business so we need your continued patience. If you find an error, please use your inside voice to let us know. We’ll do our best to correct it.
Write Now Columbus – December 2020
January 2021 will mark eighteen years for Write Now Columbus. Since the day Shannon Jackson Arnold generously offered me her email list when she moved from Ohio to Wisconsin, I have worked to create a comprehensive calendar of central Ohio events, and a resource for central Ohio readers and writers.
My husband and sister have helped, and I hired a researcher a few times, but for the most part, I’ve done this alone.
That’s about to change.
Please welcome Tami Kamin Meyer who, as sweet coincidence would have it, happens to be a long-time Columbusite, a writer, and an attorney like me! Although, Tami still practices law and I don’t.
Tami, one of Shannon’s original subscribers, has cheered Write Now Columbus from the sidelines since its inception. Here’s her bio:
When Tami Kamin Meyer moved to Columbus from her native Cincinnati to attend Capital University Law School in 1986, she was not a fan of the capital city. Despite her initial reservations, Columbus has “grown on me like a vine,” she says.
The mother of two sons, one a sports journalist and the other studying journalism in college, Kamin Meyer has been a freelance writer, editor and content creator since 1981. Her byline has appeared in a myriad of publications, including Forbes, MarketWatch, Next Avenue, Cannabis & Tech Today, Your Teen, Ohio Magazine and Columbus Monthly.
Licensed in Ohio, the state’s federal court and the US Supreme Court, Kamin Meyer is a solo practitioner representing clients in personal bankruptcy, probate and family law matters.
She is Marketing/Communications Chair of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and is a member of the Columbus Bar Association’s Board of Editors.
I’m excited to welcome her as editor. I will remain as publisher. Stay tuned as we work out the details.
PLEASE SUPPORT LOCAL LITERATURE
It being December and it being a pandemic, the calendar shows only eight events. Independent bookstores and local venues continue to struggle with no in-person activities and an abundance of competition for online happenings.
Please continue to support our central Ohio literary organizations. With a vaccine on the horizon, we hope one day soon for the return of in-person options. In the meantime, we need these organizations to stay afloat. They require our support to do so!
Thurber House recently made their situation public. It’s dire. Without help, it may close.
PLEASE DONATE NOW TO SAVE THURBER HOUSE.
Also, please support independent bookstores. We’ve created this WNC Bookshop to help.
Ed’s health crisis earlier this year, combined with the pandemic and the divisive national climate, prompted me to take a hard look at how I could be most helpful to others. I’ve written more about that in my author newsletter, Nita’s News.
Sign up for Nita’s News, for wellness tips and all of my author updates.
NITA’S FACEBOOK GROUP
If my spin on emotional health and well-being interests you, please join my Facebook group, Mind, Mood, and Movement. I offer writing practice, mindfulness meditation, movement, and occasional challenges as wellness tools. Expect the random unicorn too, because, well, I love unicorns!
UPCOMING MEMOIR EVENT
Friday, December 18th at noon PT / 3pm ET – Brave Women: Revelatory Memoirs with Marlena Fiol and yours truly. In this discussion hosted by the San Francisco Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, Marlena and I will explain what prompted us to overcome difficulties and why we chose to write about it. Register early as spots are limited.
REVIEWS – PLEASE and THANK YOU
Depression Hates a Moving Target and You Should Be Writing continue to receive positive reviews. If you enjoyed either book and haven’t had a chance to leave a positive review or rating on your favorite site, I’d love it if you would. If you already did, thank you!! I had no idea how important reviews were until my first book came out.
GIFTS FOR WRITERS
Instead of watching me reinvent the wheel, head over to Chuck Wendig’s “Gifts for Writers.” My favorite?
“Give Them Some Oxygen: Seriously, we’re all trapped in our houses, buy a writer a plant.”
Don’t forget! Books make great gifts!
ASK ME ANYTHING
No. I’m not doing a Youtube Live—yet. But if I can help in some way, please reach out. Email is always the best way to reach me.
Take care and be well.
If you purchase anything from the affiliate links on this page or in this email, Write Now Columbus will receive a portion of the proceeds. This helps us keep the website up and the internet on.
In this Bum Glue series, I interview other authors. This author interview is with Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley who I met at the L.A. Times Festival of Books when she and I and several other Mango Publishing authors dubbed our table “Mango’s Best Authors.” My first book had not yet been published so I offered bookmarks alongside her elegant book display. Her warm welcome calmed my new author jitters and I knew you folks would want to “meet” her as well.
Nita Sweeney (NS): When and how did your writing journey begin?
Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley (BJB): I would say my writing journey began when I was in elementary school, with journals. As a child, I had a lot to say and it was quite easy to “say” it in a journal. I honestly can’t remember how I got my hands on my first journal, or if it was a make-shift journal I converted from a Hello Kitty notebook, but I do know writing in a journal was an integral part of my childhood.
NS: Why do you write? What motivates you?
BJB: For me, the act of writing – physically writing with a medium point pen in my hand – is an intimate disclosure session with myself. Considering that I am a private person, writing is one way I choose to express my concerns, aspirations, thoughts, opinions and creative ideas without inhibition to glean insight into what can sometimes feel elusive.
NS: Plotter or pantser?
NS: What’s your biggest writing struggle and how do you handle it?
BJB: My biggest writing struggle is accepting that a slight level of anxiety is always present with writing professionally. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been writing, when I sit down to write something new, there is an ever-present question of how can I best translate the way the idea feels on the inside to written words on the paper. Writing is elusive and not knowing if I can capture what I’m going for makes me anxious.
Author Interview with Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley
NS: What is one thing about writing you wish you’d learned earlier?
BJB: Honor your creativity and talent instead of trying to push it away. I did this for years until I understood the urge to create, to share, to communicate and to write is there for a reason. Your writing can impact the lives of others in ways you could never imagine, as expressed in one of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
NS: What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever heard?
BJB: The best and worst writing advice I’ve heard is write what you know. Yes, it’s important to write what you know. In fact, that’s precisely what I did in writing my book. However, I also think it’s important to remain open to exploring other ways to express your writing. If you feel the urge to try writing creative non-fiction, poetry, a guide or travel book, go for it. Don’t limit yourself by saying, “I don’t know how to write in that genre so I’ll stay in my lane.” The lane is paved by the paver! You never know what (else) you are capable of creating with your writing unless you try.
NS: Do you write by hand or on a computer?
BJB: Both. I write by hand for my personal writing and on my computer for professional purposes.
NS: What are you currently reading?
BJB: Honestly, I have seven books on my nightstand to read and three more books on hold through the public library. If I could read them all at the same time or inject the material intravenously, I’d be good-to-go. Since I can’t, I’m currently reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This is not a book I normally would choose, but lately I’ve wanted to explore a wider variety of books. With more than one million ratings on Goodreads, I thought why not? I’m halfway through the book and the prose is breathtakingly beautiful. I highly recommend it.
NS: Is there a book you couldn’t finish? Why?
BJB: The Writing Circle. When I saw this book was about a writing circle, I was excited because I’m in a writing circle. However, I just couldn’t get through it because of the characters.
NS: What book couldn’t you put down?
BJB: Dune! I am huge fan of sci-fi fantasy and I wanted to be prepared – having read the book – before the movie comes out it in December 2020. Frank Herbert’s Dune is a stunning literary achievement. I now understand the hype around this book!
NS: What advice would you give writers starting out?
BJB: My advice to writers starting out is remember your literary roots. Remember your why. In the online world of writing, likes, dislikes, book sales and shares, it is really easy to get lost in all of that in the search for accolades. Stay in touch with yourself, why you started writing in the first place and remember the love for the craft.
NS: What would you like readers to know about your most recent writing project?
BJB: My book, The Gift of Crisis, is a humble and sincere offering of practices that helped me navigate a difficult time in my life. It is my greatest hope that some part of my story will inspire readers to see that struggle and triumph both serve a purpose for personal growth.
BJ Buckley and The Gift of Crisis
NS: Has your writing life turned out differently than you expected? If so, how?
BJB: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write a book. However, I didn’t know about what I would write. And then came the crisis…which brought about an unintended literary gift.
NS: What’s next for you writing wise?
BJB: I have a list of writing projects I’m swirling around in my head to decide which to finally bring to fruition!
NS: Mermaids or Goddesses?
BJB: Oh, I love the idea of being a mermaid, but I don’t know how to swim. I’ll go with Goddesses!
NS: Toast or bagels?
BJB: Brioche bagels with cream cheese and strawberry spread. My goodness.
NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?
BJB: The ocean. Also, on my nightstand to read is Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols. I love being near the ocean so I picked up this book to dive deeper into the soothing nature of water.
NS: Leggings or jeans?
BJB: Jeans…if the denim is stretches!
NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?
BJB: Dogs. We have a Mini-Schnauzer.
Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley is the author of The Gift of Crisis, a memoir which chronicles her story of identifying the underlying purpose of the ongoing financial crisis and the meditation practice which helped to overcome the crisis. https://www.bjbuckley.com/
The Gift of Crisis by Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley
Find her here as well:
Social media link: Facebook