The Portland Writer Gets Personal


Portland writer, Vanessa Nix Anthony I’m Portland Writer, Vanessa Nix Anthony, my friends call me, Ness.

My story begins at the tender age of six, with a little girl, who in the 2nd grade, was sent to a 4th grade class for reading time. It was that same that year that I first decided to be a writer.

Though there is much, much more to tell about those formative years, my story, at its core, is one about finding your passion at an early age but like many, getting sidetracked a little along the way. The difference between my story and others?

I didn’t let a wee little detour stop me.

Once Upon A Time . . .

After a long and successful career in the medical field managing million dollar practices, I chucked it all, heading for Europe. Backpacking my way for nearly 5 months with nothing but a toothbrush, and the clothes and books I had stashed in the 40 pound pack on my back. Along the way, I learned a lot about art, good food, and history, as well as tenacity, working through the pain (I re-injured my freshly rehabbed ankle twice) and the best of human nature, through the people I met along the way.

I  had a lot of time to read, journal and think about what was next for me. When I returned to the states at the age of 34, with no kids and no desire to go back to the medical field, I decided the time was now to focus on making my writing dreams come true. But I had no idea where to start.

Fast Forward

Two years later, I was best known around Portland for my mouth-watering food reviews (I even had a complete stranger quote my food review back to me while waiting in line for the bathroom — very satisfying and humbling.) I was part of a weekly writer’s group that included three talented reporters from the Oregonian (one of whom, now works for Reuters in NYC, the other of which, recently published her memoir and teaches journalism at American University in D.C.). I was also working my way through the first draft of my first attempt at a novel.

Nationally, I’d written for a variety of outlets including The OregonianPDX Magazine,  MetroParent MagazineBaltimore MonthlyPortland WomanWow! Women on WritingOregon Bride and KPTV.com. But then, as luck would have it, the world changed. The print industry faltered and in another two years, outlets I had written for, steadily, for four would be gone.

I refused to throw in the towel. I’d built a well-rounded portfolio of published clips over the years, featuring the eclectic local arts scene, hard-hitting community news and explorations of new stand-out businesses, as well as up and coming fashion purveyors. I knew I could make something financially sustaining out of all these experiences. But what? And how?

The Call of Copywriting

I decided to try my hand at copywriting and mentored for a year under a 20 year vet, learned all I could about social media, as it was being birthed and got my certification in SEO from Portland State University. Somewhere during that span of time, I got laid off from my part-time “safety net” job, became engaged, got pregnant, got married, and had the most beautiful, awesome baby boy, while still managing to file three stories from my hospital bed.

Along the way, I learned to say YES — even to things I had never tried my hand at before, to ask for help when I needed it, and to take a break once in a while (actually, that one is still a work in progress.)

I’ve ghostwritten books, helped novelists tighten or find their vision, mentored other creatives to a more lucrative path, and written everything from sales pages, white papers and press releases to video scripts, site content, and financial reports.

I literally learn something new, each and every day. I’ve worked for Fortune 500 companies, authors, lawyers, ad agencies, consultants, web designers, doctors, filmmakers, solopreneurs and large conferences for creatives (many of whom, I am bound by non-disclosures not to name — Not to worry though, there are plenty of super-satisfied past clients to fill up a few pages with their kind reviews on my references page and on LinkedIn.)

Who is The Portland Writer, Really?

I am the author/creator/curator of a Portland area blog called Writer’s Block on Oregonlive.com and the chocoholic behind the culinary blog, The Groovy Foody, as well as the author of a book of poetry called, In Less than a Year.

A world traveler, foodie and pop culture addict with a penchant for all things 80’s, I am passionate about words, food and people. I live, love, explore and grow in Portland, Oregon with my hubby Todd (who’s also a writer, as well as a musician) and a precocious toddler named Juno.

Hard at work on my own projects (several children’s books concepts, a memoir of my father and a enough ideas for a handful of novels), I now write in just about every genre they’ve come up with and have a thriving copywriting business that grows more each year.

I feel fortunate to have paved a road to a life and career I love and I am committed to paying it all forward, by mentoring other would-be copywriters in their journey and speaking to groups about branding, social media and writing for the web.

In between it all, I keep up on the latest Stumptown happenings, juggling motherhood (and an ever-changing palette of hair colors) all the while cooking up a story or two. Maybe for someone like you?

Now you know my story–need help telling yours?

Email me at nessnix@theportlandwriter and let’s get started.