*** Now available in black-and-white AND full colour! *** ‘The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.’ Mary Davis Gratitude is not just about ATTITUDE. Gratitude is about PRACTICE. But how do you create a gratitude practice that sticks? After the success of her first 365 Days of Gratitude Journal, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith brings you Volume 2. Same journal but with an entirely different look! After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, Mariëlle discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done. 365 Days of Gratitude, Vol. 2 is an undated, guided journal. Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, it was designed to help you create a sustainable gratitude practice too. Commit to the life-changing power of gratitude today and order your copy now!
Gratitude journaling brings me so much. It slows me down. It reminds me to take deep breaths in and out. It stops me from pushing myself too hard, too often. It brings me joy. Happiness. Appreciation. It reminds me of all I have going for me, no matter the kind of day it’s been.
It really has been the key I was looking and ready for when it showed up in my life.
But, even now, after years of practice, I have to consciously decide to do the work. That it came at the right time and with the structure I needed doesn’t mean I don’t get off track, especially when the going gets tough.
I used to become angry and utterly frustrated with myself when this happened, but now I simply sit myself down (read: force myself to take a break) and return to my practice. And because it’s such a simple, structured practice, it’s easier to pick up again than I often think.
Of course, some days or even weeks will be easier than others, but that’s another thing gratitude journaling has brought me. No matter how far I stray, I am grateful for having something to return to. For all the days I ignore my practice, I’m grateful for all the days I do pick up my journal and let the miracle that is life unfold in front of me.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a writer, editor, and writing coach who specialises in author mindset struggles. I was born in the Netherlands, but I currently live in Cyprus, a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea. In the Netherlands, I used to juggle my writing, editing, and coaching with a job as teacher in gender and post-colonial studies at the University of Utrecht. When that contract ended, I decided to take the leap, move abroad, and see whether I could turn what was then a little side business into a proper day job.
Do you have a day job as well?
These days, the editing and coaching is my day job. I write fiction early in the morning, and I work on my non-fiction projects whenever there’s a gap in my schedule. Or at night, depending on how desperate the project is to get out of my system.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Cyprus has an enormous stray cat population and I volunteer with an organisation that does Trap-Neuter-Return of the cats in our area. We have a bunch of feeding stations as well to take care of our local cat colonies, and I’m in charge of three of those with a small team of feeders. Together, we make sure the cats are fed and watered, that new cats that show up get neutered, and that sick cats are taken to the vet—if we can catch them.
I’ve had very little sleep these past few days, because two new-born kittens were dumped at one of our feeding stations. This happens a lot and we’re always short of volunteers who know how to bottle-feed, so I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night to feed the two tiny monsters. Tomorrow, they’re going to another foster, which is great, because I’m editing a big project this week! When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
In 2015, I became friends with a fellow writer who was big into indie-publishing. I’d never heard of it before, but it opened my eyes and made me excited about getting my work out there.
I wasn’t aware that one of the main reasons I wasn’t that serious about becoming a writer was because I dreaded having to give away so much control if/when I found a publisher. As an indie-writer, you’re in control of every single aspect and that idea made me so very happy.
It’s not for everyone, though. That whole being in control of every single aspect? It’s a lot! I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s definitely something to considerbefore you decide whether to go ‘traditional’ or ‘indie’.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I wish I consciously chose my genres! I just get an idea and as I flesh it out, I try to figure out what genre it belongs to exactly. With some projects, it’s obvious, but with others…
Where do you get your ideas?
In the most inconvenient of spaces, usually when I don’t have a notebook with me or can’t take out my phone to jot down some notes. In the shower, while driving or taking a swim, or when I’m doing the dishes, for example. As soon as my brain is focused on something mundane, the ideas come. Which is 99% a blessing, and 1% a curse ;)
I’ll have to say it’s gotten worse since moving to Cyprus. I feel much more inspired here. It’s why I moved—during my first holiday stay on the island, I couldn’t stop writing. The same thing happened during my second visit. When I got the chance to move abroad, I didn’t have to think long about where I wanted to go.
Do you read your reviews?
I do, all of them!
Do you respond to them, good or bad?
I never respond to bad reviews, and I only respond to good reviews on platforms such as Goodreads. I like every 4- or 5-star review, and I try to remember to leave a comment on the 5-star reviews.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Don’t dwell on them. You’re allowed to feel sorry for yourself for a little bit, but once you’re able to shake off that mood, go back and see if the bad review offers any constructive feedback that you might want to keep in mind for your next project. If not, ignore it. You can’t resonate with everyone.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book? My next book is called 99 Writing Prompts and Journal Exercises for Writers to Cultivate Courage and Kick Imposter Syndrome to the Curb. It’s the first book I’ll be launching using Kickstarter and I’m currently in the middle of setting up my campaign so it can go live in October.
For this book, I picked the prompts and exercises from my 52 Weeks of Writing series that are all about finding that inner courage, dealing with imposter syndrome, and how to grow as a writer and develop your author mindset.
I also created a 52-card deck to go with the book, Cards for Creative Courage, which will also be launched during the Kickstarter campaign. While I’ve created it as a companion deck, it can be used on its own by any creative looking to harness their inner courage.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE
Mariëlle S. Smith is a writer, writing coach, and editor. She lives in Cyprus, where she organises private writer's retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.