Rise & Shine Interview: Vanessa Grillone

Two of my passions are expressing my thoughts through writing, and empowering others.  Therefore, I created an interview series called “Speaking From the Heart” where writers/authors/bloggers dig deep, share their experiences, and encourage others on their writing journey. I have reached out and asked writers whose work I love to speak from their heart. 

I'm excited to start the series by featuring the amazing Vanessa Grillone. I discovered Vanessa's blog, My Pen, My Voice, this past January on the Canadian Weblog Awards  site where both our blogs were nominated. I had to connect with her as we share similar interests, live/lived in Toronto, and both have self-published books. Vanessa is a writer, blogger, and book-lover looking to find her place in the publishing world. She contributes to ChicDarling.com  and Workstory.net; she also writes for her own lifestyle blog on VanessaGrillone.com . Vanessa can’t stop writing and can be annoyingly optimistic, but she doesn’t care—she loves life.

(c) Vanessa Grillone
(c) Vanessa Grillone

 Check out the description of her book, My Pen, My Voice:

“Every girl has secrets. Every girl experiences things she is afraid to talk about. And every girl has her own outlet. For Vanessa Grillone, that outlet is writing. My Pen, My Voice artfully records the trials and errors one girl endures in order to become an independent and strong young woman. Through a mixture of prose and poetry, Grillone digs into the heart of the often difficult teenage years, when emotions are high, changes are fast, and life is all-consuming. Grillone’s entries encompass the turbulent range of teenage angst. From struggling to understand her need to go her own way to trying to come to terms with her frequent mood swings, her poems reveal with painful intimacy the confusion and heartbreak of growing up. Her vivid language and heartfelt words convey not only her honesty, but her fragility. With a keen eye for the human heart, My Pen, My Voice offers compelling compositions. Journey with Grillone on her path to self-discovery, one that ultimately offers insight into the female mind during its most fragile years.”

Vanessa speaks from her heart and has inspired my journey.  I love connecting with like-minded individuals.  Read her interview below.

Why do you believe self-expression (speaking from the heart) is important?

Keeping things inside corrodes your soul. Honesty – with yourself and others – is the only way to be free. Sure, people aren’t going to always agree with you or care about your opinion but that doesn’t make it any less valid. 

How has writing empowered you in other areas of your life?

Writing gave me a voice. At first it was a cathartic escape of sorts but after sharing my writing with people, I realized that when you talk people will listen. You have a voice and it is important to be heard. My writing has allowed me to speak up and TALK to people, to tell them how I feel. As such, I’ve gotten rid of many insecurities and fears. I’ve also become a little more confident, and confidence is KEY to life, to making your dreams a reality.

How did you find your authentic voice through writing?

I’m not really sure “how” it happened, it just did. I think being honest in your writing forces your most authentic self to shine through.

How did you develop the courage to stand tall (i.e., get the courage to share your writing)?

I got some pretty wonderful feedback on my writing. People told me that they could relate to how I felt and what I wrote. My words made them feel a little less lonely. I also felt like I owed it to them to keep writing.


When you have a hard time writing, what do you do to work through it?

I just leave it be. If I over-think the fact that I’m not writing, I have no room to think about what I can write about. After a nice coffee with a friend or an evening with family, I end up writing again; I get this burst of creative energy. I think it’s because I let myself relax a bit.

How did you find your support group?

When you live under the same roof as the greatest parents on earth, a support group isn’t that hard to find.

Any advice for new writers/authors?

Start a blog. Get a Twitter. Connect with people. Build your platform. Write what you want to read and stay true to your own voice. Keep writing. Keep dreaming. If you love to write as much as you think you do, you’ll keep doing it, even if it’s not getting recognized the way you want it to. Believe in your voice; if you don’t, no one else will either.

Thanks for speaking from your heart and empowering others, Vanessa! Keep up the fantastic work! If you have any specific questions for Vanessa about her writing process, please feel free to ask

BeFunky_BeFunky_Journal Prompt Picture.jpg

One question that came to my mind after reflecting on what Vanessa said was “How has expressing your thoughts helped with your confidence?” Many people struggle with this, so I’m reaching out to you all and asking for your input.  Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!