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Ely Rosario's Guide To Turning Adversity Into Advantage

Ely Rosario with one of the first copies of her first book
Ely Rosario with one of the first copies of her first book

How a life of overcoming obstacles fulfilled a literary dream.

A well-known Tallahassee woman has written about how she overcame her personal life challenges. Elizabeth Rosario, better known as "Ely," is hoping it will give others insights on how to cope with and overcome their own obstacles. Rosario, whose day job is vice president of Jackson Properties, sais she's always aspired to be a writer.

"I tried writing music and poetry at first and I'm like, 'I suck! I'm not good.' But I still kept on. People call it 'journaling' but I just write, writing about not necessarily my day, but what I would see of the world around me. And of course what I was going through or not going through."

Rosario said that pursuit remained essentially a solitary activity, until:

"My friend Curtis, he was one of our Jackson Properties vendors, and he told me one time, 'You just need to write a book, Ely!' And I said, 'Oh, Curtis, I'm not good enough. What do I need to write a book for? What do people need to hear?'"

But the more Rosario thought about it, the more she realized many of the things she'd gone through in her life might have resonance with other people.

"When I went through a horrific relationship with an alcoholic, at the end of it, when I came out of it, first of all I was thankful I'd made it out alive, second, why did I fall into it, and then third, how do I help others to not be in the same situation I'd been in?"

That realization set the stage for some serious work.

"I went to a conference 2 years ago and I was with my girlfriends in Minnesota and my girlfriend Sarah. And that night I just started writing. And I wrote so much! A little bit of my childhood, a bit of growing up as a teenage mom, going to school as a mom, working 2 jobs, having internships, my work, moving to Tallahassee, Puerto Rico, it was everything. And then diving into the relationship part of it."

The saga remained a semi-realized document. Until Rosario ran into Ebe Randeree, the associate dean of Florida State University's College of Communications.

"And he looked at me and said, 'When's your book coming out?' And I said, 'What are you talking about?' And he said, 'You've got a story to tell. I see it. I feel it. When is your book coming out? You've got 6 months to get me a draft.' And I was like, 'Oh my God! Okay!' And I did it and I think I was 2 months late. He wanted it in December and I got it to him in February. And I remember sitting down with him in the Dunkin' Donuts on West Tennessee Street and I put down the binder on the table and I said, 'Here's your draft. I did it!'"

Thus was born Rosario's Own Your Fire. It uses her life story to inspire and motivate those who might be enduring similar challenges.

"It was like me trying to tell them that they need to put themselves first, they need to take care of themselves and do what they need to do for everything else to fall into place, IF it needs to fall into place. And we as women unfortunately, we make too many exceptions, we say 'I'm sorry' too much, we forgive too much and a part of me says, 'We need to stop that.'"

Rosario's initial magnum opus is on the market.

"It is officially on Amazon. It's Own Your Fire by Elizabeth Rosario, although most people know me as Ely."

And Ely Rosario says additional writings are in process.

"I self-published this one and I've got 2 others in the works and I'm continuing to write as I drive, shower, run, wherever I can fit in the time to do it, I do it."

We'll keep you updated on her progress.