Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney, freelance writer and chairperson of the ASJA Marketing Committee. Due to her religious beliefs, she is not comfortable writing the name of “G-d” in full, which is why it appears as it does in this article. She tweets as @girlwithapen.
Candy Arrington kept diaries and prayer journals as a young child, although at the time, she didn’t necessarily fancy becoming a writer. Still, she says, “I have always been intrigued by words, their cadence and their meaning.” Today she is the author of two books, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and Aftershock: Help, Hope, And Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group). Her bylines have appeared in CountryLiving.com, NextAvenue.org, Healthgrades.com, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, among many others and her stories have been anthologized in the “Chicken Soup” and “Cup of Comfort” series and more.
It wasn’t until the late 1990s that she realized how powerful her writing could be. Arrington was attending a church retreat, and while sleeping, “woke up with words dancing in my head.” She found a piece of paper and furiously scribbled the thoughts swirling in her brain.
At the end of the retreat, attendees were asked to share their experiences of the weekend. “I read what I wrote and people asked for a copy,” she recalls. “I then realized my words could make an impact.”
Soon after that experience, Arrington attended her first writer’s conference, where she met other writers and editors. “I realized I needed and wanted to learn more about the craft of writing.” She began reading whatever she could find about the topic, noting, in retrospect, there were far fewer blogs on the topic than there are today. She participated in a writer’s group and began penning pieces exclusively for the Christian market, which for her means articulating from a faith perspective. “It is writing based on the tenets of the teaching of Christianity” emanating from both the Old and New Testaments.
While Christian-based writing is “not necessarily denominational,” as a Southern Baptist, Arrington observes that it would be difficult for her to write from the perspective of a less familiar religion such as Catholicism.
The healing power of words
For Arrington, the joy of writing comes from offering readers comfort, hope and peace. “I want to acknowledge the difficulties of a situation and offer support,” she says. And the writer needn’t inject religion into that type of writing.
Though she doesn’t have a formal education in counseling, Arrington’s compassionate nature enables her to empathize with challenges and difficulties of everyday life. She views her ability to pen pieces designed to soothe the pain readers might be feeling as a gift from G-d, a calling that needs to be answered. “I want to honor that gift by helping others and offering hope and comfort.”
Arrington is a lifelong South Carolinian with a delightful Southern drawl. Her marriage of 38 years produced two children; now she and her husband are the doting grandparents of two little ones.
She is in the process of writing her third book, Moving Beyond Life’s Losses. Even though her own children are well out of their teenage years, the work is aimed at assisting parents of teenagers cope with some of life’s daunting obstacles. “People are hurting and searching for answers. We, as parents, are not equipped to help our teenagers work through their grief. ”
Not surprisingly, the publishing world has changed markedly since Arrington scribbled those notes that fateful night at her church retreat.
Through her nearly two decades of writing, she has learned that flexibility is imperative for a writer to survive. For example, when her children were younger, she wrote pieces about parenting kids their ages. As they got older, though, Arrington says she felt less capable to write about this topic as accurately as during their early years. “I evolved as my own life evolved.”
Today, the she writes mostly for online publications, which is where many readers can be found. “Be prepared to learn, change and grow or else you will find it difficult to find new outlets,” she cautions.
Although Arrington has been a member of the ASJA for nearly a decade, four years ago she attended her first ASJA conference in New York City. She is glad she did. As a member of a professional organization, it’s in your best interest to take advantage of its offerings, she observes, adding,“I have learned so much and grown so much from that affiliation.”
Take a leap of faith and register for Navigate. Motivate. Captivate., ASJA’s annual New York conference on May 18-19. Discounts are still available until Saturday, April 7! For more information on the schedule, keynotes, and hotel, please click here.