Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Project: Thin, Grey Novelist


So my goal for this year, my 39th as it coincidentally happens to be, no smack of a midlife crisis in this corner, is to get fit, learn to accept my grey hair and finish my novel. I thought you might like an update.

Getting Fit

I am attending the gym regularly (three to four times a week), despite having been called a Teletubby by a fitness instructor. I’ve attended two more of his classes since then and he tore a strip off someone for being five minutes late, and the next time gave someone else a lecture for chewing gum in class (admittedly a dumb thing to do in an aerobics class). I clearly got him on a good day. I also do my circuit and am getting stronger, and can go for longer and faster on the treadmill and cross-trainer. I have only attended one spinning-class and I loved it, but have not gone back. I must because it’s a brilliant fat-burner, but I do get sore nethers.

Writing a Novel

I have just submitted my difficult and by no means perfect Chapter Four to my writing cheerleaders. Their job at the moment is to say “Yay! You did it! I love this bit.” Later on, when there is a full novel to read, they will be allowed to provide critique. I am now starting Chapter Five, which in theory should be a breeze because it’s a part I wrote three years ago, but we no longer have the computer it was on and I’ve lost the print-out, so there’s a chance I’ll be reimagining it from scratch. Also, I am planning a writing retreat on my own, probably in the Black Forest, sometime in June and I am very excited about that.

Going Grey

This part is going well. My hair is doing the job all by itself with no input from me. I had a moment in a department store in Karlsruhe when I saw a lady with multi-coloured hair like mine fixed into a rigid helmet with a pouffe-like thing going on front, and my mother-in-law had to forcibly restrain me from running into the nearest hair salon and shrieking for highlights. A couple of days ago I heard an insert on my favourite source of information, Woman’s Hour, that as more and more women of a certain age are refusing to go grey and are dyeing or highlighting their hair blonde, that blonde is becoming seen by the young (see how that ages me) an older woman’s colour. Young women now favour chocolate brown red and black as their hair colours of choice.

Well, mine is neither blonde, brown, red or black. It is, as you see below, stripey:

But, because I am growing up, I am happy about that:

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

51 thoughts on “Project: Thin, Grey Novelist

  1. Well I have to say that the stripey look has a very sophisticated, European feel to it – completely suitable for a chic novelist attending Parisian soirees, and book signings I should think!!

  2. I agree with Kit. And good for you for facing grey-headedness head on. I’m still fighting it all the way.

  3. I think that it is a great indication of self-confidence to let your hair go grey. It is marvellous.

  4. You look beautiful. My hair was stripey like that this morning. Then I dyed it chocolate brown. Really. 🙂

  5. You look fantastic! I love the grey, I think it looks really great. I hope I have the courage to do the same when I start going grey.

  6. Charl, when I saw your stripy hair, I teared up a little. Yes, you are so beautiful that I got choked up! Please continue to love yourself!! And I admire your necklace, too.

    How inspiring you are this year, focusing on your goals.

  7. What a brave and lovely photo of you. My move to Cairo meant that I hadn’t seen a hairdresser since last November.. the grey was coming through at an alarming rate. I had almost decided to just let it be, but my flying trip to Germany over Easter put paid to that idea – my mother-in-law made comment that ‘many women over 40 should think about cutting their hair shorter….but not me I said!…. I am going for the aging rock chic look as long as I can. 94 euros later I was looking very glam… so I thought…. not one person noticed that I had been coloured and trimmed on my return, not even the husband.

  8. You look great! I love the grey.

  9. Yeah, schiss boom ba, to chapter 4! I’ve never been a cheerleader before. If I’d known that is what you wanted, I’d have been far more enthusiastically elaborate with my praise. The second part is just semantics. This first part is the free flight.

    I’m glad you are following in the grow grey gracefully movement. It’s not any easy route, but it is a way of making a statement. You go, gal!

  10. You’re beautiful!!!!

    Good luck on all your goals!!!!

  11. I think it’s going to look very good when the blonde is all grown out. You will have a compelling grown up groovy gravitas. Your author photo on your book inset is going to be quite stunning. (I’m not saying this just to be nice.)

  12. Oh wow – what lovely photos of you! And I love how you really do have two definite little silver wings at your temples. I can’t wait for the day you sign my copy of your book, right on the gorgeous author photo! 🙂

  13. Good for you, sticking with your exercise routine. That instructor would have been the only excuse I needed to quit going. And, as far as chapter four goes, “Yay! You did it! I love this bit!” (Oh, wait a minute. I haven’t read it. But I’m sure I WOULD love this bit if I had). Your hair looks fantastic! Seems you’re doing brilliantly with your goals.

  14. I think the hair looks beautiful! And congrats on the progress with the novel, and your stubbornness with the gym.

  15. We love your hair and would love to feature you on our blog! You are beautiful!

  16. I’d like to second, or third, or fifteenth is it? the motion that you are absolutely lovely!

  17. Hi Charoltte, I love the title of this post. And you look beautiful in the photos xx.

  18. What a striking photo you’ve taken of yourself. Your hair looks terrific and it is what I want to do when my grey time comes.

    Anyway, you’re stunning and I’m happy for you that you’re accomplishing your goals.

  19. Gosh, your hair is gorgeous! You’re a fantabulous writer AND you’re getting fit!

    If you weren’t so wonderful and charming, I might have to hate you a little bit 😉

  20. The grey looks really exciting!


  21. I think your grey looks lovely! I’m beginning to go grey myself (started in college, sadly) and I’ve decided that I like it. I’m hoping it turns out stripey.

  22. Great photos–the grey is really awesomely striking! Congrats on chapter 4–I’ll definitely be in line for a signed copy. Keep going to spinning! Are you wearing bike shorts when you spin? Is the saddle correctly positioned? These things might contribute to your pain.

  23. I think you and your hair look beautiful. I admire the getting fit and know I ought to do something about my own sloth, but…. the sofa calls me. Congratulations too on making headway with the writing. This is not easy. Cheerleaders sound like a wonderful idea!

  24. I absolutely positively LOVE grey hair. It’s not “old”-it’s wise and strong and shining like armor. I hope I go grey-specifically your type of grey. Good for you!

  25. I LOVE it! I had to come to Los Angeles on an unplanned trip and when my sister saw my hair she pointed, gasped and then smiled. “Like natural highlights, I like them.” I was in heaven. I just keep telling myself I’m going paltinum. (i’ve always wanted to go platinum)

    You are doing great. Chapter 4, in shape and naturally highlighted. What could be better?

  26. i absolutely love your grey-streaked hair. it will look even more awesome once it has all grown in, or out, however you see it. and you do look proud of it!

  27. I think your hair looks great. I stopped dying mine in January and it’s just starting to be visible. My hairdresser thinks I’m nuts, but I am really embracing the grey and love that it is “salt & pepper” — or “stripey” as you put it. My hair is too short to be striped, I think — just sprinkled.

  28. You’re looking good. It is interesting you’ve written about this because I noticed this week that my hair has similar streaks and have been wondering: “Should I dye it?” and have come to the general conclusion: “No”. Kiko’s Daddy has suggested going blonde on a number of occasions. I’m not ruling it out but… I sort of prefer natural right now. I worry about hair dye turning my hair into a haystack.

    That is great about the book. Sometimes, although it’s annoying to lose work, it is good to reimagine a section. I find it turns out better than the original!

  29. Grey hair (in a good cut) is fabulous! I’m getting interested looks from women who, when they see me from behind, expect to see a retired person! Then they see I’m a middle-aged woman – with the alluring, supreme confidence to be who I am. I’m telling myself.

  30. Exercise! Just back from my first yoga class for three weeks (another routine that my essay sent to rack and ruin). Wow – you look a like Faye Dunaway. Grey hair is, of course, a culturally massively different thing for men but I’ve grown to love mine.

  31. Oh, you look fantastic. Grey suits you. 🙂

    You have so inspired me! I turned 40—-something. (Believe me, my age makes your age look REAL good.) And I have been struggling to get back to the gym AND the novel-writing. Big hugs and pats on the back to you, CharlotteOtter! You go, GIRL!

  32. I loves your hair!

  33. I really love your hair at the moment. It is just so stylish. The stripey look is intriguing, and the silver mane to come will be even better. I am in the process of convincing myself that long grey hair will be the thing for me, and you showing us how it’s done. Go Charl go!

  34. Get out, he never called you a Teletubby, even Germans have more tact!!! The sad thing is, he might have actually intended it as some sort of compliment. Plenty of women of a certain go for red, what are the young kids thinking? Anyway, that last picture looks a lot like Kathleen Turner so who cares about the hair?

  35. Greetings from India, Charlotte!!
    I stumbled by your blog while I was doing a back track of mine. Im all of one post old and have just plunged into the exhilarating world of blogging.
    I have to say youve captured so much of whats on my mind! Thin, Wriitng and Grey, Growing up and so much more. Just goes to show, you could be sitting anywhere in the world, and the emotions are just the same.
    I went grey last year and i absolutely LOVE the experience. The other two ( thin and writing ) are still wip.

  36. i think you’re hairs beautiful
    theres nothing atall wrong with growing old gracefuly and with some style.

  37. i love it LOVE it. Wish it was my hair x

  38. I found your photo while looking for a pic of natural grey hair to take to my hairdressers, I think it looks really sophisticated and knowing – I can’t wait for a bit of grey!

  39. Thanks for this great post. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn a lot off new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  40. Hi, whoever you are, I was just looking for reassurance that going grey is ok! You are beautiful, your hair is great, and at 49 with darker hair than yours I am just deciding that I can’t be bothered to dye or fuss about any more. Me is me and I’m going for the natural look. I spent so many years wanting to be taken seriously and now I’m mature, I think I need to accept who I am, and my greying (long) hair is going to stay. I always thought I’d have the short grey crop/big earrings look but I’m going to stick with the long hair and let the colour grow out. Once again, beautiful lady, keep it up!

  41. I’m with you Clare, I am 48 and thinking seriously about giving up the bottle (dye bottle). I know I’m going to look awful and don’t want to give up the longer hair but as it is never a good time to do it, I think I should. Maybe get Christmas over first! Charlotte you look great, you have good looks to start with – that helps. I look at the images of “grey” styles and the one thing that the great looks have in common are that the women look like models to start with. The difficulty is when you are not so confident in your looks and the dark hair was your confidence booster. Still thinking about it, but know I should go for it.

  42. I’m only 25, but I’m starting to get gray hair and I absolutely love this article.

  43. Pingback: Novelist grey | Aamigostravel

  44. You are so beautiful! And your hair is flat out lovely! I honestly love your natural color fading to blonde on the ends. It’s so reminiscent of hombre color. I really love it!

  45. I could not wait to cut mine short, short, short. The hair dresser was aghast. But I am so glad. I never had hair that short. I just became exhausted with the two tones.

    About once a week, I think, ah, will dye it again, but now, after almost TWO years, it is growing on me. My makeup and wardrobe change helped but that was yet another transition. Maybe getting some help in that department would not hurt! I did it on my own and … well, it was a painful and lengthy process.

  46. I came across your blog as I was seeking reassurances for my own quickly greying mane. I think your hair looks lovely and it is inspiring me to continue. Thank you for sharing…..


  47. your hair is beautiful,it is giving me the courage to leave mine alone!

  48. Just comment from someone with a Y-chromosome…your striped hair looks fantastic and you are even more gorgeous for not covering it up.

  49. My gosh you are gorgeous! my hair is nearly down to my bottom now – three quaters of it is blonde and the regrowth is salt and pepper. I’m fighting getting it coloured as I have a quirky grey/white streak at my temples that I love. Its others that seem genuinely aghast that I have ‘let myself go’ by going grey. Would love to see an update photo to see how you have grown with your lovely colour.

  50. So glad to hear someone else is taking that ‘growing grey’ step! It’s been such an emotional battle for me! I have about four inches of silver framing my face and the rest is a washed out mixture of red, blonde highlights and some natural ash brown roots! I have reached for that box of color so many times but keep reminding myself that I do not want to start all over with this process again! My driving force is that not only does my husband love it and tells me I’m moving into such a sweet age of grace, but even the younger generation compliments the silver! At least until I turn around and walk away revealing the kaleidoscope of tresses! But I’m determined to march on, Sister and embrace this beautiful, peaceful celebration of 56 years and still dodging the bullets! Thanks for the encouragement of your own journey! You are an amazing woman!

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