Episode 70. Transitioning from Writer to Creator + CEO: A Talk with Vanessa Shields.

“Say Yes Before You Know How”


Welcome to episode no. 70 of the Nancy Duffy Show! I read something this morning that Christy Write posted on her Instagram today – “say yes before you know how.” And it kind of falls in line with today’s show. Typically business shows and podcasters will interview business owners who have already arrived, and then ask them how they got there. They’re the ones making millions, on the cover of Forbes. That’s not today’s guest – though she has achieved success on so many other levels.

Given that many of you are in the process of deciding what to make of your future, I thought I would give you a glimpse into the life of someone in the process of creating hers. Vanessa Shields has been a guest on my show before in her capacity as a writer. But a year ago she made the decision to use her craft in a different way – which would take her from being a creator and writer to facilitating the creative process for others. Now what’s also so very interesting about this week’s conversation is how it starts. We intended to keep our chat down the business track, but as you’ll hear, we get a little side-tracked, because just like in real life – stuff happens.

This episode goes well beyond business; it visits resilience, loss, the meaning of work and then takes up residence in creation.

Vanessa joined me in studio earlier this week – click on the play link above to go to the show! ↑

About Vanessa Shields

Vanessa Shields has made her home, her family and her work life flourish in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Her passion for writing was discovered at a very young age through the vein of writing in a journal. Her first book, Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy – A Memoir, was published by Black Moss Press in 2011 to rave reviews. In April 2013, Shields edited a poetry anthology entitled, Whisky Sour City (Black Moss Press). I Am That Woman (Black Moss Press), her first book of poetry, was published in January 2014 and had its third printing in 2015. Look At Her (Black Moss Press) launched in September 2016, and went into its second printing in December 2016.

In 2017, Shields was part of a Group of Seven poets published in an anthology about the history of Windsor, entitled Because We Have All Lived Here (Black Moss Press). In June 2018, the chapbook Feminism: Revisit, Revise, Revolutionize: A Two-part Harmony was published by the League of Canadian Poets’ Feminist Caucus with Shields as co-editor/introduction writer. She writes a monthly blog for the League of Canadian Poets on being a writing parent. She is passionate about promoting poetry and the writing life and is often on a jury (or two!) for major awards and/or contests. She has self-published a collection of children’s poetry entitled From A to Ziffery Zanks with Windsor illustrator Glen Hawkes. This collection launches in the fall of 2019. A new collection of poetry, (working title) Thimble will be published by Palimpsest Press in 2021.

Her poetry, short stories, and photography have been published in various literary magazines. She mentors, guest speaks and teaches creative writing, and does Poetry On Demand – on-the-spot poetry-writing that helps make poetry fun and accessible for all. As creator and host of Mouth Piece Storytelling, a storytelling competition, Shields is able to share her love of storytelling with her community. Shields is the owner of Gertrude’s Writing Room – A Gathering Place for Writers. Gertrude’s Writing Room offers creative writing classes and workshops.

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