Planning for NaNoWriMo 2015

So a year ago I put out a tweet asking people what story I should work on for NaNoWriMo 2014. I got more votes on the second project and have put the first project aside for awhile (but it’s still in the back of my head).


2014 NaNoWrIMo Ideas

For this year, instead of waiting until the last minute to write a novel off of the top of my head, I decided on my NaNoWriMo project well before November 1. And I started getting to work on the backstory! My planned project was going to be about two young lovers in Pittsburgh during the Civil War who both want enslaved people to be free and to keep their country whole. But they believe there are different ways of doing this. So are a part of my planning, I started sketching out scenes. I named characters. I described my characters. I ordered books about Civil War era Pittsburgh from the library. I went to the History Center and located original documents and learned how to access records of newspapers from the time period!

WHEW did I plan.

Then I spent October 18-21 at the Highlights Foundation learning how to write page-turning non-fiction for middle grade readers. While it was only a few days, when you’re in a small group workshop all day, for all meals, you learn a lot about people. And the instructor of the workshop, the wonderful Deborah Hopkinson, took the time to listen to my idea for my NaNoWriMo project. She pointed out some flaws and asked good, hard questions. I’m interested in writing a book during NaNoWriMo, but I’m also interested in writing publishable, marketable books. Then she asked me a very important question: why wasn’t I writing a book about running?

I admitted that I felt it would be self-indulgent and selfish. I worried it wouldn’t be marketable. I worried I couldn’t write it in a way that shared how important running has been to me as a woman and writer. She pushed me a little more and we discussed a possible character and the story arc. I felt overwhelmed and emotional. I felt exhilarated. I left the Barn (where we had our classes and meals) and I walked to this spot on the trail and I cried a little, overwhelmed at the idea that I could write this story about a girl who comes of age and unlocks the secrets to happiness thanks to running.

Where I decided on NaNoWriMo 2015

Where I decided on NaNoWriMo 2015


This novel is a lot more of a pantser project than my first idea, which is nice and planned. But maybe this is a good thing! Maybe I write one with emotion and on the fly and I write the second (the Civil War one) after NaNoWriMo when I can really read info and add in the important historical details.

I know I can do this. Thanks to my experience as a runner, I know it’s all about putting in the work daily. And running isn’t just a theoretical part of my writing. It’s a practical part because  I think through plot, flesh out characters, and sketch scenes in my brain during every workout.  I can write both of these stories. I have already written full manuscripts for The Forest of Dreams, Runner’s Luck, and Dare Club. I have completed two big revisions on Dare Club. I can write both my planned story and my pantser story. 

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

Chapter Titles in Scrivener Compile

Scrivener is great, isn’t it?

Scrivener is really hard to learn, isn’t it?

I can’t really learn and retain lots and lots of information just by reading it one time. I need to use the information in some way or else I find I have a problem and learn by finding the solution. My most recent problem was that the chapter titles for my novel manuscript weren’t appearing in the Compile document. I struggled with this for awhile. I did Google searches. I asked people on Twitter. I asked two smart, curious people who are good at problem-solving and debugging. I did more Google searches.

(In the middle of researching this problem, I stumbled upon the answer to another problem! How to populate the project status bars!)

Finally, after some continued struggle and putting the question away and then coming back to it, I re-read the block of text at the intro screen within Scrivener. Turns out I needed to not work in folders. Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.18.04 PM

I didn’t want to make multiple scenes. I just wanted to write chapters. So I thought that meant write in folders. But that was wrong. Based on the intro screen info, I needed to create text files and move those text files up to the chapter level.

Scrivener Chapter Titles


Within each text file, I also selected the boxes on the far right that said “Include in Compile” and “Page Break Before.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.18.12 PM

So I went through every chapter and created a text file, copy and pasted the words into the new file, then deleted the folder. Then I went to the Compile screen. Guess what!

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.18.42 PM

All of the chapter titles I wanted were highlighted in yellow! WOOO!!! I hit Compile. And when I checked out the document, all of my chapter titles were right where they should be!

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.19.06 PM

So my whole problem was answered right in the main screen. For reference, here’s the info:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 5.31.24 PM


While I really enjoyed using Scrivener to work on my novel manuscript I am by no means a power user. There are so many features I haven’t even begun to explore. I’m about to work on a non-fiction picture book proposal and I believe I will learn even more about the features of Scrivener as I encounter problems or want things to look a certain way and then learn how to make it happen.

What feature of Scrivener did you learn through problem-solving? Which feature is your most favorite?




About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

Brain Food: SCBWI and SWPFSP

summer reading with kids

Food for Thought


I hate being hungry. I can’t concentrate and I’m really grouchy. Imagine if you were a kid who was hungry all summer.  But here in Pittsburgh, that’s not an imaginary thing. It’s real. In fact, there are more than 45,000 children in Allegheny County that are considered to be food insecure, and 73,500 children are eligible for free or reduced-rate school lunches or breakfasts.

So when Chris from the Southwest PA Food Security Partnership approached me and my friend Kathy about helping more kids take advantage of the summer food programs in our area, both of us said YES.

Kathy and I had tables next to each other at the 2015 Farm to Table conference, but we’re also both members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Chris loved the activities we were offering for children that centered around healthy eating but also had a literary and storytelling component. We met in early summer 2015 and he asked us if we could come to summer food sites and provide fun activities for the kids. He hoped that by advertising visits from local authors kids would be more interested in attending. Kathy and I loved the idea and both realized this was a chance to interact with children (something kids’ authors love) and a chance to feed their minds and their bodies.

But we like to think big. So Kathy and I invited all the members of SCWBI Western PA to join us. We had 14 volunteers sign up and they conducted over 10 visits in Allegheny, Somerset and Cambria counties. SCBWI volunteers read books, played games, and told stories while children enjoyed healthy, free meals.

I took my youngest son with me to two of my visits to my old home library, Carnegie Library Woods Run. I used to walk to that library with my young children and we spent many happy afternoons in the children’s section. When my son and I visited in August we found a welcoming staff and adorable kids with incredible imaginations.

For my visit, I brought copies of my book The Bumpy, Grumpy Road to share with the kids. I wanted give them something, a small gift to spark their imaginations. They gave me gifts, too, because in addition to reading stories we played StoryCubes and made up our own stories. And these kids were AMAZING! The little girl in the photo above and another little boy came up with an incredible tale about a boy who had the shadow of a beetle and a beetle who had the shadow of a boy. They traveled together to a castle where they discovered human king…but a beetle queen. You’ll have to use your imagination to find out what happens next.

We definitely plan to continue this partnership next summer so if you’re a local Pittsburgh author or illustrator get in touch and help us feed imaginations while kids get fed.

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

Celebrate and Self-Publish a Book

I’m so excited to announce my new kids ebook will be released Oct 2, 2015! It’s called Dinosaur Boogie and it is a fun picture book designed to get young readers moving like mosasaurs and grooving like gigantosaurs. This project to self-publish a book was truly a collaborative effort so read on to find out about my talented illustrator, my mind-reading designer, and the cool features I utilized when creating my ebook.

self-publish a book

All the cool dinos dance!

This is my third children’s book. If you’ve ever wanted to try and self-publish a book, children’s or otherwise, get in touch and let’s talk about your idea. I can offer great suggestions on how to formulate a vision of your finished product and guide you through the steps to make your idea a reality.

Sketching the Idea

Even though the book has around 100 words of main text and some brief back matter, I’ve been working on the text for Dinosaur Boogie for quite a long time. I wrote the first draft in 2013. If you read that first draft now it wouldn’t sound anything like the finished product. For one thing, the song I had in mind is completely different now and the word count is a lot lower.

With that first draft in hand I went illustrator hunting. I know from experience that to self-publish a book doesn’t mean subjecting people to my awful artistic attempts. Early in 2014, I found an amazing illustrator thanks to writer’s group networking. If you haven’t visited Felix Eddy‘s website, you must! At this point in the project, my vision was to create a simple print book. Then it morphed into an app that would include a song and active dancing dinosaurs. I explored partnerships with local musicians and app developers, but I couldn’t get a license to use my original song idea. The cost and time required to turn this into an app was more than I could invest.

I shelved the project for a bit, but it gnawed at me. It felt lodged in my creative gullet and when Amazon launched it’s Kindle Kids Book Creator software in 2015, I felt like this was a way to bring my dancing dino story to life and free my brain up to move on with other projects.

While I had gorgeous full color illustrations and a sparkly new revised text, I knew I would only do an OK job with final layout and design. So I called up my friends at Word Association Publishers, where I edit manuscripts, and was paired with a creative and talented graphic designer named Gina. She whipped my collection of words and Felix’s art into a cohesive and colorful layout that I love.

New Tech Helps Prehistoric Text

With my brand-new pdf file in my virtual hands, I headed over to learn about Kindle Kids Book Creator. There was a small learning curve, but nothing a few googled questions didn’t answer. Soon I had my file uploaded and I learned how to add the very interesting pop-up text feature. I always hoped readers would dance as they read my story, but this feature made it possible for me to add prompts into the pop-ups that encourage kids to feel the fossil beat.

After a few more software downloads and updates, I previewed my book and sent it off to Amazon’s digital library. You can pre-order a copy of Dinosaur Boogie now!

After I Self-Publish a Book, Things Happen

So many times the successful completion and implementation of one project or idea helps me pour full energy into other projects and this was no exception. After Dinosaur Boogie hatched, I found myself highly motivated to complete some other outstanding creative projects. Early in September I made the final revisions on my middle grade contemporary novel manuscript and send it out to a handful of select agents. Later on that same week, I completed four non-fiction queries that had been languishing on my computer. Now they are winging their way off to editors.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch and talk about your children’s book idea! It’s not as difficult to self-publish a book as it may seem.

So now my new ebook is ready and waiting to be devoured by readers. I’m so excited I could ROAR!

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

Writing Outside of My Comfort Zone

writing out of your comfort zone

Maybe the story begins there, too!

This excellent quote was sent to me by a very fun, encouraging agent. It totally fits for the manuscript I just finished and for how I try to live. It’s also a great way to approach the craft of writing and the topics I (or you) choose to write.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the old wisdom “write what you know.” That can be limiting when there’s so much diversity in the world. I feel more drawn to the advice “write what you want to know more about.”

While I feel nervous writing about people who are very different from me, I want to learn more about people who live and think and believe differently than me. I don’t want to claim to speak for them. I want to try to walk in their shoes in an attempt to increase my empathy and the empathy of my readers. I want to write about things that are scary to me and scary to readers. I want to build up my own bravery and the bravery of my readers.

It can be scary to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. It was scary the first time I swam a mile in open water. It was scary the first time I shared my work with an agent and took some serious critique. It was scary the first time I volunteered to read stories at a free lunch site in my community. It’s scary when we put ourselves out there, but what’s even scarier is what I would have missed if I hadn’t tried.

What have you done lately that was outside of your comfort zone?


About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

Creativity and Goals

I’m not sure what’s in store during the dog days of summer, but I definitely went through a “spring slump.” In early May after the completion of some big road races and writing conferences. Although I had plenty on my plate and managed to meet the deadlines for client projects, I wasn’t feeling the love I usually need to boost my own projects.

I didn’t fight the slump. I slid into it. And then after an indecent amount of time slumping, I slid back out. Right at the time my laptop suffered water damage. So there I was without my main means of creativity just when I’d managed to wake up my muse.

I’ve got my laptop and my energy back. And I’m tapping into two things that help me make good things. I’m hitting halfway on my book reading goal and it’s day 180 out 185 in the year. I’m running again and boosting my energy. I signed up for an art class called Zentangle that truly allowed me the chance to create a lovely little piece of art and reinforced my feelings of positive accomplishment.

How do you boost your creativity?

zentangle creativity

Getting a little creative

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

Making Time to Write

Time to make the donuts! Making time to write

Time to make the donuts!

I’m really scared to write this post about making time to write, because I’m going to share my goals here and if I don’t reach my goal I’m going to feel ashamed and disappointed! People might actually look down on me. They might say “Hey, she failed.

But I also want to be a published novelist and if that happens I’m going to be ready for all kinds of negative comments so why not start building a thick skin now?

My goal is to rise early and write before the rest of the day begins.

During the summer I gave myself a pass on working on my novel every day. I also gave myself a pass on running every day. I was spending more time with the kids, spent more time volunteering, and went on some excellent vacations with my family. I found it very hard to take time away from these moments to refocus my brain on the world of my novel. Maybe I’m just lazy or maybe I was scared I’d miss something in my other world, the one I where I actually live. Whatever it was, I wasn’t making time to write my novel. And it’s time to change things.

School has started now and I’m trying to help my boys build habits and behaviors that will help them be successful. So I’m going to do the same with myself. I need to change some habits to get better at making time to write.

My goal

The first step is to state my goal, or what I want to do.

I want to wake up at 6:15am and be out of bed by 6:30am. I want to have at least half and hour to write before I need to get the family moving on their daily activities. 

It takes about 21 days to form a new habit and nothing happens overnight. So I’m going to work on this in stages. The second step is to state HOW I plan to make my goal happen.

  • Week 1: Go to bed before 11pm. Set alarm for 6:15am. Allow myself to hit snooze a few times. Be out of bed before 7am. If possible, write a sentence in journal.
  • Week 2: Go to bed before 10:45pm. Set alarm for 6:15am. Monitor the time I’m out of bed, aim for 6:30am. Write a minimum of a sentence in journal, aim for paragraph.
  • Week 3: Bed by 10:30pm. Set alarm for 6:15am. Out of bed by 6:30am. Write a paragraph, aim for a page!
  • Week 4: Bed by 10:15pm, earlier if needed. 6:15am alarm. Out of bed and writing by 6:30am. Page minimum even if it’s crap.

Can I keep this up on the weekends? I feel I have to try even if it means I take a nap. If I can do four weeks of this, that’s 28 days and I should be well on my way to making this new habit work for me.

Don’t get me wrong – I get a lot of writing done during the day. But it’s mostly writing for other people and projects. My novel has taken a backseat and I need to change that.

If I can get my novel writing done earlier in the day, perhaps I can increase the time I am able to spend on other writing projects. I can write in the morning, revise after my run. I can finally get this draft submission ready and send it off to my five hand-selected, carefully researched, appropriately targeted agents. Then I can get ready to work on my next project just in time for NaNo!!

This is about thwarting my tendency to procrastinating and prioritize making time to write.

I’m in the beginning of week 1 today, and while I haven’t actually written any sentences in my journal I have been up and out of bed by 6:40am both days. I’m going to count that as success and put my journal next to my bed tonight.

I’ll post updates as I go so you can hold me accountable. You can praise my success or point out where I went wrong. What are the secrets to your success in making time to write?

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

New Secret Tip for Picky Eaters

I’ve collected lots of tips for helping parents work with their picky eaters and get more fruits and vegetables into their diet. But new research shows that one of kids’ favorite things – recess – could be a huge help!

Schools in a Utah school district switched their schedules so that recess happened before lunch and guess what happened? Kids are more fruits and veggies. Lots more!

In the schools that switched recess to before lunch, children ate 54 percent more fruits and vegetables than they did before the switch, the researchers found. Moreover, there was a 45 percent increase in the number of kids who ate at least one serving of fruits and vegetables a day. But in schools that kept recess after lunch, children actually ate fewer fruits and vegetables as the year went on.

54 percent! That’s a lot of broccoli! Active kids are hungry and hungry kids are less likely to be picky eaters. And it’s exciting that there was an increase in children actually eating fruits and vegetables. This shows it wasn’t just kids who already ate these foods, it was new children eating these foods. I’m all for increasing physical activity in schools. I’ve learned a lot from Action for Healthy Kids about the value of recess when it comes to academic learning and positive behavior. But now we can add eating healthier foods as another benefit of recess! I encourage every one, kids and adults to be more active. Being active is invaluable to me as a writer. It’s a win-win decision.

But the great news doesn’t stop there. The study also showed a decrease in wasted healthy food, too. I can’t stop smiling at this good news! Why aren’t we hearing more about this? What do we need to do to convince schools to switch their lunch and recess schedules? I am betting that the decrease in food waste could be the stronger argument if it can be connected with saving money.

This article also argues that parents and children who sit and eat together also eat better. How often does your family sit and eat? We try to sit and eat dinner together every night if we can, but we also find time for breakfasts and lunches together over the weekend. It’s one of the happiest times of our day, now that we’ve developed new ways of working with our picky eaters. No more food fights!

secret tip for picky eaters

Give those new foods a try!

You have to read the entire article and let me know what you think. The full study is out in the Journal of Preventative Medicine. Why aren’t we hearing more about this good news? Do people just not care about kids eating healthy? Would your school flip lunch and recess? Why or why not?

Take a look at more tips for picky eaters in these posts and if you want to help your picky eater have some fun trying new foods, grab a copy of My Food Notebook.

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

Working With Volunteers Made Easy

Working with volunteers can be the most rewarding experience or the most frustrating. Numerous non-profit organizations across the nation rely on volunteers to stuff envelopes, raise money, pick up litter, and donate their time to the cause. It isn’t always easy, but working without volunteers is a frightening possibility for many organizations.

Perhaps due to hectic living, volunteering rates are falling. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the volunteer rates have dropped from 28.8% in 2003 to 25.3% in 2014. That rate didn’t change from 25.4 % in 2013. To put it another way, “about 62.8 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2013 and September 2014.”

Volunteers are the heart and soul of groups school parent teacher organizations, food banks, community shelters, and churches. But it’s increasingly harder to find volunteers who can give their time and passion to an organization. We live in a two-income society and families juggle school, jobs and and financial responsibilities. Finding free time on weekends is almost out of the question.

62.8 million is a huge number of people with creative, innovative ideas just waiting to put their skills to use for a mission in which they believe. And volunteers are a valuable, irreplaceable resource. How can organizations keep the volunteers they need and recruit new ones?

There is a lot of competition out there, but some volunteer-based organizations fare better than others. How do successful organizations keep so many volunteers inspired and dedicated?

Working With Volunteers in ways Motivate, Excite and Show Respect

  1. Keep your promises. When a staff member promises a phone call, a meeting, a decision or piece of information, it is imperative that they follow through on the promise. If you want to rely on your volunteers, first, show them they can rely on you.
  2. Make it personal. Some send out handwritten notes to a few key volunteers, some take the time to write notes to every single volunteer they work with. Since a number of staff were once volunteers for their organization, they have affirmed the importance of this personal gesture. It’s also a good idea to learn something personal about your volunteer and be able to mention that topic. Does the volunteer love to talk about their children or pets? Ask how their loved ones are doing and show that you care about them as people, not just valuable resources.
  3. It’s ok to care. It may be your job to raise money for cancer, or for heart disease, or for the local park. But it’s also important to let your volunteers know this is a cause you believe in and that you are emotionally invested. Working with volunteers means sharing emotions and the reasons why the mission matters. Sadness can motivate people, but hope can, too.
  4. Feed them! Food is as powerful a motivator more than any other method. Nothing makes a committee meeting on a Wednesday night easier to bear than food. Anything from chocolate to tea and cookies seems to make people feel appreciated and keep them coming back to help.
  5. WIIFM – What’s in it for me? Finding a person’s WIIFM, or what it is they hope to get out of the volunteer experience, is a great way to make sure they are always satisfied with their responsibilities. Before you being working with volunteers, find out what their goals are. Some people just want to work on the day of the event, helping with registration or handing out buttons. Others want to be a part of the committee and assist with all the planning details. Learn what your volunteers want, and help them achieve that. They will love their time with your organization and return.
  6. Recognition. Not every volunteer is working to get an award, but some are. Some volunteers need to know that their efforts have made a big difference and public recognition is just what they need to feel appreciated and renew their commitment. Yearly volunteer recognition dinners give many of volunteers a chance to shine. But some volunteers prefer a more private show of appreciation. Meet them for lunch, send special thank-yous. They need to feel wanted.
  7. Have fun. Events like 5Ks and mini-golf outings and festivals and attract people because they are FUN. Combine a fantastic event with your mission and keep those volunteers coming back year after year.

Working with volunteers is an art. For more ideas on how to express gratitude to your volunteers, get a copy of Thanks! 100 Wonderful Ways to Appreciate Volunteers. 

thank volunteers, working with volunteers

Don’t Forget to Thank Volunteers

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.

The Pitfalls of Freelance Writing in Pittsburgh

freelance writing pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is home to lots of creative types!

Freelance writing in Pittsburgh isn’t always perfect. In fact, it can be full of pitfalls. But what if there was a cushy landing waiting at the bottom? I love doing freelance writing in Pittsburgh. Over the past four years, I’ve enjoyed working the organizations like Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, Cancer Be Glammed, and teli. Right now I am enjoying my freelance writing work with Farm to Table and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, as well as writing for national magazines.

Why I love Freelance Writing in Pittsburgh

I have learned a lot in my time as a freelance writer and not all of it pertains to writing. There are lots of extras, both good and bad, that come with a corporate position. Here is a quick list of seven potential pitfalls of doing a freelance writing in Pittsburgh that aren’t so bad after all.

  1. No organized community service. I miss blood drives! In my previous work in the non-profit world, the office manager always organized the blood drives and volunteering was part of my day job. It was easy and a no-brainer. Now that I’m a freelance writer I have to make my own volunteering opportunities. That could be a con, but now I have a chance to pick which causes really matter to me. I’m starting a creative writing club at our elementary school, I’m volunteering with the Food Bank and promoting healthy eating for kids.
  2. No office kitchen. I have no where to take leftover party food! When I worked in an office, I could keep extra sweets and snacks out of my pantry by donating it to the office kitchen. Problem solved. Now as a freelancer, a lot of those leftover pieces of cakes and cookies stick around the house. But as a freelance writer, I’m also not tempted to eat treats brought in by other people. No 4:00 sugar rush! And I can usually avoid the guilty obligation to buy popcorn and chocolate and wrapping paper from co-workers who are fundraising for their kids.
  3. No chit chat. Not working in an office means no water cooler talk. That’s good and bad. It means I don’t have people to bounce ideas off of easily. It means I have to use the phone, social media and scheduled meetings to share ideas and get feedback. That does require extra effort on my part. But losing the water cooler means also means I get to avoid hurtful gossip and misinformation. A definite pro!
  4. No suits. Working from home means there is no need for a business wardrobe. This feels like a real pro for me most of the time. I can do my freelance writing in my workout gear and make sure I have no excuses when it comes to running, cycling or lifting weights. It does make it hard sometimes when I need to dress for a presentation or networking event, but I think this feature has helped my budget and my overall health. I haven’t worn high heels in several months and I don’t miss that at all!
  5. No sick days. As a freelance writer, I still have to work when I’m sick. I’ve taken time off when I’ve felt really bad, but if it’s a bad cough or a sore throat, that doesn’t stop me from writing. That mean seem like a con, but the good part about not working in an office is that I don’t have to work around other sick people. Why do people insist on coming into work sick? No one’s handing out medals for coming into work on your deathbed! And since our nation has really failed to support families with excellent parental sick leave rights, I can now stay home with my sick children and keep working. That’s a real pro.
  6. No carpool. I don’t have anyone to carpool with to work. No HOV lanes for me. When I do have to drive somewhere, I am on my own. But I also don’t drive to work everyday. There are many days I don’t drive at all. That has to be a pro.
  7. No trivia club after work. It is harder to socialize now. It’s very easy to stay home, tuck into my work, and neglect personal relationships. But I am a social person and I make an effort to get out to different kinds of networking events and community activities. And I’ve also tried to prioritize friendships with people that really match my personality instead of gravitating towards someone who just happens to work in the next office. It’s been good to meet a variety of new and interesting people through my numerous freelance writing contracts but it’s also been good to explore friendships that are not related to work. I think in many ways, non-work friendships can be healthier and less stressful. There are so many great people in Pittsburgh, I don’t think I’ll ever truly lack for excellent socializing!

About Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.