Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Amy Zellmer and author of, Life with a Traumatic Brain Injury, Surviving Brain Injury and Embracing the Journey. Amy is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,
Welcome, Amy! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.
Katelyn- Amy can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?
Amy-I was a professional photographer for 20 years before retiring in 2018 due to my brain injury. I love all things sparkly and glittery and am addicted to Miss Me jeans and Starbucks coffee.
Katelyn- Those are some fun, harmless addictions! I have seen your photography and it is wonderful. I am so sorry you had to retire that career. I know that you have been speaking all over the country about your experience and what you have learned about traumatic brain injury and impacting a lot of lives in a positive way.
I know what inspired your writing but could you tell the readers?
Amy- After suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2014, I began writing as a form of therapy. From there I submitted a piece to the Huffington Post which went crazy viral and thus became my advocacy platform. The rest, as they say, is history.
Katelyn- Writing can be such a great form of healing when we experience something traumatic. I am glad you got confirmation from the viral post that you were on the right track.
Can you tell the readers what genre you write in and what kind of books you like to read?
Amy- I write non-fiction, and I also love to read non-fiction. I also love a good mystery book!
Katelyn- I am always curious about why authors choose to write and go through the process of getting their writing published. What compels you to write?
Amy-As I mentioned, I began writing as therapy. I now continue to write to help others who have experienced a brain injury and to help educate loved ones, caregivers, and the medical profession. With over 3.5 million TBIs each year in the US alone, it is a grossly misunderstood and misdiagnosed injury.
Knowing that my writing is helping thousands (if not millions) of people around the world who are lost and confused in the world of TBI keeps me writing. I receive the most amazing cards of gratitude for my pieces, and it’s truly touching.
Katelyn-I am so glad you are out there as an advocate! Traumatic brain injury is just starting to get the recognition it needs. So many people have had one and don’t even know and the effects of TBI can be devastating as you know.
As a writer and creative person, I am sure you have had at least one creative block.
What do you do when you get a creative block?
Amy- I can either sit down and write an article in 5 minutes flat, or I sit and stare at my screen for 20 minutes before realizing I need to go for a walk outside in nature to clear my mind from all the chatter.
Katelyn- Ah, nature is my place to clear my mind too.
I imagine some of our readers also feel like they have a book in them and don’t know where to start. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Amy- I am asked often by fellow TBIers how to get started writing. I tell them to write no matter how little or how much. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Just get it down on paper and out of your head. A good Editor will help you flush it all out and turn it into a piece of art!
Katelyn- I agree. Just start and don’t worry about it being a finished product. Like you I started by blogging and feel that is a great way for people to start writing and getting feedback.
How can people support you in your writing career?
Amy- I have started Keynoting at conferences to help the medical community understand the reach of TBI and how it impacts us when we are brushed off by doctors who we are supposed to trust. I am always looking for groups who would be interested in having me speak and do a book signing!
Katelyn- Thank you so much for spending time with me and sharing more about you, Amy.
What is your web address or where can people find your books or get in touch with you about speaking?