Thursday, November 29, 2012

50,104 Words in 25 days

In the middle of October I came across National Novel Writing Month through a fellow blogger's blog. I decided writing 50,000 words in thirty days would be good fun!

I've written several novels, five young adult fiction and one non-fiction, but never in just thirty days. This challenge of quantity over quality would be a new one for me but one which I was quite excited to take.

Fortunately I have a two hour commute three days a week, which makes for prime writing time. An hour in the morning and an hour in the evening plus the occasional hour or two as and when I could fit them in.

I started out strong, completing over double the 1,600 word daily target they set through the NaNoWriMo website. For the first few weeks it looked like I was going to be just fine with pushing through to 50K, but about mid-way through I started to flag.

Difficulty in keeping up momentum is why the novels I've written previously were completed over several years. Often I'd write the first half, hit a giant block, and just stop. Not with NaNoWriMo this isn't part of the plan. The aim is to get those words down, no matter what. I had to push through writer's block and feeling like what I was writing was probably crap, until I gained the momentum again.

My writing definitely moved in peaks and valleys and I have to admit, on the 20th of the month I feared I wouldn't make it or, that I would complete the novel without having hit 50,000 words. the average fiction novel is about 47,000 words so this wouldn't be unreasonable, but 50K was the aim so I persevered.

I'm happy to say that I completed my goal on the 25th of November, rounding my novel off in a way that I was satisfied with which also surpassed the target ever so slightly.

My experience of this was interesting as I found many friends, family and co-workers who had either participated before or were doing it that year for the first, second or third time. The general impression I got was that most of us have a novel inside us. We have characters, a plot, and loads of ideas. But we lack the motivation to just start writing it.

Something puts us off - feeling we're not prepared enough or that we don't know how to start. I don't know if I'll participate in NaNoWriMo again but what I do know is it's taught me the importance of getting it down. There is no ideal time to start or right way to go about it. It's about just going for it and I'm happy to say that I did. As a result I finished a novel in just twenty-five days and I have to say, that feels like something to be proud of.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Cultured Mouse

I attended a concert conducted by the delightful Sue Perkins. It was held at the Barbican, a London venue I've often read about but not been to before. It's a sprawling building with multiple auditoriums. The atmosphere was festive and the evening's music proved to be very delightful. Sue's energy was fantastic and despite having a restricted view, we had front row seats that still afforded us a decent enough view of half the orchestra.

There was some bonus entertainment during the night in the form of a mouse. The little creature was under the edge of the stage and during the second half of the performance it began peaking out and attempting to make it's way across the floor to get out one of the fire exit doors. The problem with this plan was all of us sitting in the front row, including one woman who had an obvious fear of the small creature as her legs involuntarily jumped the first five or six times the mouse made an appearance.

Soon, however, the woman relaxed and the mouse almost became a part of the performance. The poor wee thing was missing one of it's hind feet and it did the sweetest little sideways run when it emerged from the shadows of the stage. It ran up and down the length of the stage on the side we were sat and proved to be a source of entertainment and delight for several other concert goers.

I have to say, whilst it was brilliant to see Sue Perkins conduct, and whilst the delightful music of Tchaikovsky definitely began putting me in a Christmas mood, it was probably the antics of the little cultured mouse that most made that evening for me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The following video is best watched in the context of the Me First life coaching site I set up about this time last year.

When I set out to establish myself as a life coach I took the plunge whole heartedly. I believe that putting yourself out there is the best way to find out if something will work or not. Part of figuring this sort of thing out involves the trial and error experience of trying different approaches to an idea or project.

I have come to the conclusion that a new approach is needed for several reasons.

1. I'm publishing a book in March, which will be quite an undertaking and requires a lot of time and energy.

2. I don't want to risk spreading myself too thin. I believe it's good to do a variety of different things to keep life interesting but important to find balance. By taking on too much I risk depleting my energy and not performing very well at any of my projects.

3. I want to integrate my coaching into what I'm already doing with Faunawolf Creations as a Creative Specialist.

The video below explains all of this and will be up on my other site for the time being. I am still offering one to one coaching through and expanding my services to include bookings for classes - like learning to sculpt with polymer clay, character design, or mask making, for example.

So toodle on over to! 
You can subscribe to my new e-Newsletter (Don't worry, if you were subscribed to Me First you'll be switched to the new mailing list), keep up to date through my twitter and facebook accounts, and keep reading my blog

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Bloggers Needed!

As the end of the year approached so does the need for me to chill out, relax and generally regroup. Which means I'm taking a holiday. And I'm also going to be off to Canada for Christmas - which will involve spending time with my family and not blogging very much at all.

So I'm doing a call out for guest bloggers!

If you'd like to write an entry for She Smiled the Widest Smile your entry can be one or a combination of the following:
1. Something thought provoking and uplifting.
2. Something you think will benefit the well being of others.
3. Something that highlights your own philosophy on life, living well, and enjoying what you do and who you are.

If you'd like to do a guest post send an email to faunawolf 'at' gmail 'dot' com. I'll need entries by next Monday (The 19th of November) but will accept them as late at the 23rd of November if you need a bit more time to prepare something.

In return I'll happily write a guest blog for you at some point when you too are off holidaying or you just need a break from blogging.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

400th Blog Entry!!!

When people ask me “what do you do?” I get overwhelmed as I find it difficult to offer them an answer that is brief but also explains the breadth of my professional activity. Lately this has become a greater challenge as I’ve been working on my life coaching, still doing all my creative tasks and working part-time at a charity. 

To resolve this I sat down and really thought about how I want to answer that question, regardless of what I’m spending my time on or where my primary source of income is coming from. The only job title which I’ve ever truly loved and embraced is Creative Specialist. 

I specialise in being creative. I sculpt, write, paint, animate, design, and draw. I am happiest when I am making something for someone and happiest when I have a creative project to get properly stuck into. 

For the last few weeks I’ve been stuck into writing and illustrating a book. It is the first non-fiction book I’ve completed and it’s on the subject of wisdom. Wisdom is not directly related to how long a person has lived but what they have learned from the many experiences they’ve had. This is a handbook for cultivating wisdom, regardless of your age, and it’s going to be published in March, 2013. 

I’m not entirely sure on the exact date just yet, but for my 400th blog entry I wanted to announce something really exciting! There’s not specific reason for me to get excited about my 400th blog entry. It’s just a nice looking number, really, and as I’ve missed any anniversaries, it seemed like a good time to celebrate this blog and show my appreciation to all of you who read it. 

In celebration of 400 entries and the release of my book in March, I am going to be holding a draw. You are invited to sign up to my brand new Faunawolf Creations E-Newsletter, which will arrive in your inbox once a month and no more, I promise. Everyone who signs up between now and February 2013 will be entered into a draw to win a signed copy of ‘Wise At Any Age’ when it is released in March. 

I’m also holding a ReTweeting contest for those of you who regularly read my blog via twitter. Everyone who ReTweets this entry will be entered into a draw to win a signed limited edition print of one of my Tarot Card paintings. 

And if that wasn’t enough, to include those of you who support me through my Facebook Page, everyone who ‘shares’ the link to this entry will be entered into a draw to win an original Fanawolf Creations dragon. 

So, quite a few fabulous opportunities and all to say thank you for reading, commenting and sharing. This blog is a big part of my life and I really appreciate the support I get from all of my followers, fans and friends. I just wanted to thank you for it and whilst it would be brilliant to offer a prize to everyone, logistically it’s just not practical. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from entering all three draws! 

And here's to the next 400 entries! *raises glass in a toast*

Monday, November 5, 2012

Learn to meditate

I write quite a bit about meditation, its benefits and why I am a firm believer in working it into my daily life.

My passion for this incredible tool has led me to running introductory meditation classes this month, the first being this Friday. I want to dispel the myths around it, so it's open to people who have tried meditation but might be struggling a bit, as well as those who want to give it a go for the first time.

In the class I'll cover posture, focusing on the breath, and open it up to some discussion about the reasons for meditation. I am taking a very relaxed approach because I believe everyone can meditate and it shouldn't be intimidating or inaccessible. It's also extremely personal so this will be an opportunity to explore what works for you and how you might be able to fit it into your day to day life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's November! Why not write a novel?

It's November! And thanks to Lorca Damon, I've signed myself up to NaNoWriMo. I believe it's called that because typing 'National Novel Writing Month' repeatedly would tire out even the most fastidious of bloggers.

I also realise that National implies it happens in one nation but evidently Amazon has decided that the Internet counts as a nation and therefore anyone on the Interweb, regardless of location, can sign up.

That's right, anyone can sign up. Even you. So - if you've ever wanted to write a novel you can start right now! For the entire month there is a lovely community of people also writing novels that you can tap into for inspiration, support, ideas and motivation.

I have never attempted writing a novel in a single month. Most of my novels have been written over several years, sometimes with months or years of not writing in between starting and finishing. Getting 50,000 words down in just 30 days will be a different challenge for me but one I'm happy to jump on. 

Whether you've written a novel before or not, this is a great opportunity because there are going to be so many others doing the same thing who will be connected to you through the NaNoWriMo website. No excuses - if you've always wanted to write a novel, what's stopping you from signing up and starting right now?