Guest Post: After My Stroke, I Began to Enjoy Writing

Here’s a guest post from author (and ACC client) Elizabeth Cottone PhD about how she came to love writing books. Enjoy!  ~ AMC

When I was in middle school, high school, and college, I was a terrible writer. During my graduate (Masters and PhD) work, I was able to massage myself into a decent academic writer. I kept at the practice, although I never loved it. For the next eleven years as a researcher, I wrote academic papers. Then, six years ago, I had a cerebellar hemorrhagic stroke which upended my entire life. Several years into my recovery, I discovered a love of writing books! so different from writing academic papers.

Reach your true emotions

Writing well can be analogous to reaching a walled-off abscess. You must really reach down, get in there and pull out real feelings and thoughts, some good and some not so good. But all must be gotten out and put into words. Even if the writing isn’t polished, the feelings need to get out. You can always go back, or an editor can work with you to “wordsmith” your writing. The best writing, I think, comes when an author reaches down deep, and explains things clearly and authentically.

Dig deep
Image by Džoko Stach from Pixabay

Find your voice

This can be hard and only comes when an author is true and real. Once an author finds their voice, they may find it necessary to convince the editor not to change it. Voice is unique and once an author finds it, it should be savored because it is special and theirs alone.

Publishing and dealing with that whole corporate world

This part is so different from the actual writing. The publishing world is about money, marketing, selling, and what people want versus what you are driven to write. You don”t want to sell your soul, but you must also pay attention to the market for your words.


After a massive cerebellar hemorrhagic stroke in 2017, Elizabeth Cottone, PhD founded and now manages a brain insult support group. A stroke survivor advocate, she has written two books, all while committing fully to PT, OT, speech therapy, and rehabilitation. She is the author of Dyslexia: A Universe of Possibilities. Her new book, Reinvention: Life After Traumatic Change, launches in October 2023.

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For more creativity tools, pick up your copy of FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers or visit the Library on the Anne Carley Creative website.

Thanks for reading!