Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker

A few thoughts on being a writer

It’s taken a few decades for me to understand that I am a writer. I’m not a writer because I write books, or articles or blogs, but because writing is how I “take-in” and process my world.

As if housed in my DNA, writing helps me discover what I think or feel or dream. It helps me make sense of what happens or doesn’t happen. And as an introvert, writing enables me to express my thoughts and ideas.

But, it’s more than that. Just like my musician father shared his soul through his music, writing gives voice to mine. Being a writer isn’t what I do, it’s who I am. My father earned his living as a Credit Union manager, but he came alive through his music.

That difference is more than words. I haven’t chosen writing as my profession – it’s chosen me as my expression.

Each of us processes and orients in our own way. Some people are runners, gardeners, singers, painters, dancers, crafters, organizers, teachers, inventors, designers, problem-solvers, caregivers, storytellers, nurturers. These may or may not be their profession, but it is how they experience their life’s zest, and add their voice to their world.

Being a writer is different from being an author. Not because of being published, but because of being public. All my life I’ve been a writer. But, having people read my work when it’s written from my own voice for others to react to, is less than a decade old experience for me. There is a rawness and vulnerability that comes with the sharing.

Yet, in the scheme of things, I’ve only found my voice with help. I realize that while I’m a writer alone, I’m an author because of others. From my eighth-grade teacher who planted possibility seeds of what I could do, to my mother who painstakingly corrected my sloppy spelling and grammar as a child; from bosses who gave me opportunities to develop my skills, to friends and family who believed in my dreams; from readers who encouraged my attempts, to my husband who picked me up after many setbacks, I’m an author because you helped me become one.

In the words of Althea Gibson, “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you.” Thank you for helping me share my words.


A bit about my background

I left the corporate world after a few decades to pursue a life-dream to work and write from the Rocky Mountains, first in Montana and now in Colorado. Today I’m the author of five business and career books, a speaker, mentor, and workplace consultant. I’ve had the opportunity to share workplace insights with a wide variety of people, from coal miners and Navy engineers to college students and senior leaders at nonprofits and Fortune 100 corporations.

My books include It’s Not About Time: How to Thrive and Get the Results You Want at Work and in Life! (2017); Trust, Inc.: How to Create a Business Culture That Will Ignite Passion, Engagement and Innovation (2014); The Titleless Leader: How to Get Things Done When You’re Not in Charge (2012); Hitting Your Stride: Your Work, Your Way (2008); and Nibble Your Way to Success: 56 Winning Tips for Taking Charge of Your Career (2007). I also write a work insights column called “Winning at Working,” a life reflections column called “In the Scheme of Things,” and I blog for

Before moving to the Rocky Mountains, I spent 20 years in leadership positions in human resources, communication, marketing and line management, in a varied career that took me from a minimum wage employee (after being fired from my first professional job) to a Vice President of multibillion dollar QVC. I hold degrees from Stanford and the University of Michigan, both in psychology.

I don’t see work in a traditional job sense. To me, one’s “work” is about becoming who you are capable of becoming. To that end, my passion in writing and speaking is to be a catalyst of sorts; helping people bring the best of who they are to the world, realize their dreams, and live their life’s potential.

On a more personal note, while I’m a writer by trade, I’m also a vintage collector, jewelry enthusiast, nature lover, and forever learner by heart. For fun, I run a little vintage shop on Etsy called Twinkling Star Vintage. I’m known as Nana by two adorable granddaughters, mom by a wonderful son and daughter-in-law, and best friend by an amazing husband.

Additional information

Nan S. Russell

Office: 720 684-6340



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Speaking Topics

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Literary Agent

Lisa Hagan
Lisa Hagan Literary