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It's Never Too Late to Reinvent Yourself

Elizabeth H. Cottrell

Elizabeth H. Cottrell is a freelance writer, author, social media pro and digital publisher in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

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I had an idyllic childhood on a cattle farm in Virginia in the 1950s, free to roam the farm's woods, streams and pond. My love of natural things led to an undergraduate degree in biology and a master's in human anatomy. From there I was privileged to supervise a scientific research lab in Louisiana. Our examination of leprosy in armadillos resulted in several publications.

For several years, raising our two children, volunteering in the community and being a homemaker were my top priorities as my husband practiced internal medicine in a small Shenandoah Valley town. As college tuition costs loomed, I rejoined the workforce as a technical writer for an engineering firm doing government contract work in the area of accessibility for those with mobility, hearing and visual impairments. The man who hired me appreciated the value of my liberal arts education with science and research training, figuring correctly that I could take the work of his engineers and write it up so government bureaucrats could understand it. Before long I was managing research projects.

When this business folded, I opted for the flexibility of a home-based business. I was an early adopter of Mac computers, providing services for local clients who weren't comfortable with the "new" technology. I wrote resumes, did page layout for local printers, maintained databases for artists and nonprofits, and helped clients publish family history books. For one client, a website whose members were home-based business owners, I managed a team of writers to provide content to help the members succeed in their businesses.

When my husband retired and became happily busy with his own hobbies, I still had an entrepreneurial itch I hadn't scratched, so I learned about social media and took courses in marketing, writing, and online visibility. From my RiverwoodWriter.com site, I help small business owners make sense of the overwhelming amount of information, especially in navigating the social media maze. I love that my professional daughter comes to me for help with her website and promoting her business. I do freelance writing and editing, and I'm learning about digital publishing for myself and my clients too.

At Heartspoken.com, I have found an outlet for my desire to write and a way to explore my fascination with the power of connection: with God, with others, with nature, and with self.

At age 62, I am still active in my community and serve on the board of a community bank. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I'm living proof that it's never too late to reinvent yourself!

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