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Vanessa Tiffany

Vanessa Tiffany

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Hi! I am writing fiction full time now under the name Vanessa Mayfield. I've finally started submitting my work and I'm building a new literary website for women writers and readers-- going live soon!

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I had a great Squad in New York when I lived there. They gave me the confidence to put experience on my resume that I had, but hadn't been given credit for. They were all really supportive and smart women.

How would you define your professional mission?

I want to build an online literary destination for my work, for the work of other women writers and for readers who are looking for a place to land and explore, with other women over the age of forty. I'm not excluding anyone under forty, but I am focusing on my age group because we are often overlooked.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

One has to be able to write and edit extremely well. I think a good deal of marketing success, and being original enough to attract some PR, is also helpful. One also has to be committed to the very difficult process of regularly (weekly, daily, monthly, etc.) sitting down and finishing a piece of fiction or a poem or a group of short stories. It's solitary work for the most part but then going public and networking to have my work read by others is also necessary for gaining an audience.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Finishing my novel and having it read, and edited, by a published author. I'm working on implementing the edits now. Having contact with a fairly well known writer was extremely satisfying.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

Finding PR and marketing help-- networking-- and getting people in the literary field and beyond, to read my work. I'm making more connections but I'm still building content, so until I can send more work out, I'm working behind the scenes. After that, attracting readers to my website and getting subscriptions and advertisers will be the next hurdle.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

My collection of essays and my finished novel. Working on building my new website is challenging but very satisfying, especially when I figure out how to do something technical.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

My career path has been full of twists and turns. I've always wanted to write creatively but moving all over the globe while I was married and raising children was front and center for two decades. Now that my children are grown and living away from home, I have the time and space to write every day. And I've also given myself permission, finally, to call myself a writer and send my work out into the world.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Finishing a piece and getting feedback from readers after I've shared my work with them. I've also been fortunate enough to meet lots of women with whom to exchange ideas and garner support from. And I've been able to be supportive to them too.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I hope my voice stands out. My stories, essays and poems are for women readers and I want them to feel seen and heard through my work--to read my work and feel that they can identify--that they see themselves in my pages at some point. I'd like to leave work behind that lets women feel they can be whatever version of themselves they'd like to be, without guilt or feeling "less than."

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

I always say I came out of the womb reading a book so being a voracious reader in love with words is just in my DNA. I have always written in diaries and journals and have always scribbled bits of stories on paper. Finally giving myself permission to call myself a writer and to now work hard at it every day just feels like the next logical and undeniable step.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Seeing to the very heart of a situation or a person. Moving around so much gave me heightened powers of perception and observation. It comes naturally to me, that undercurrent that's always there humming in the background in any situation.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Writers write.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.