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A Writer's Paris: A Guided Journey For The Creative Soul

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Enrich your creative life and write with more intensity than ever before on a spirit-renewing adventure in the City of Light. Experience it not as a tourist but as a creator, where you dedicate yourself to the bohemian writing life in picturesque parks, cafes, and bookstores.

Writers and other creative souls will be captivated by the metaphor and reality of Paris as the artist's true home, and how it can inspire you to create. Authored by today's leading creativity coach, Eric Maisel, it's an inspirational read, and a dream journey for creatives.

213 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2005

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About the author

Eric Maisel

108 books144 followers
Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is the author of more than 40 books in the areas of creativity, coaching, mental health, and cultural trends. He is a psychotherapist and creativity coach, and writes for Psychology Today and Professional Artist Magazine and presents workshops internationally.

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5 stars
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29 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 41 reviews
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,741 reviews279 followers
January 18, 2020
Every writer’s dream is to travel to Paris and write.

How do you do that?

Eric Maisel shares his secrets. He proposes three daily writing sessions of two hours each. Take the bad with the good, he says, just like scooping rather than hand selecting apricots. Go to the Musee d’Orsay when it opens and write in the silence. Stroll everywhere. How much French do you really need? You’d need a lot to translate Finnegans Wake into French, but almost none to order a cup of coffee, and absolutely none to write in English. Write in public place—-the Gallieri bus station, churches, in line. Georges Simenon wrote hundreds of three-week novels, Eric Maisel reminds us. In Paris, life is right there, to touch, to smell, to breathe in. Be motivated by croissants. Don’t forget to visit Jardín des Poetes, with poems among the flower beds. If Paris did not exist, Maisel says, we would have had to invent her. Just close your eyes. You can be there when ever you like.
Profile Image for Carol.
825 reviews
January 23, 2013
Truly an enjoyable read! Maisel encourages all writers to take a sabbatical in Paris. He makes everything look so easy, that it makes you think- "I can do that." He points out that you could start today just by going out every morning to write in a Panera in your town or to a Park in another town. In the end, Maisel states that by using this writing process routine, that writers will be able to create more and will write better. There are many references on how one would begin the process of living in Paris, so much information including internet sites (even though this was published in 2005); references are available in the back of the book.
Profile Image for Lynn.
656 reviews
November 28, 2020
filled with observations about the city and encouragement to devote time to your writing by going to Paris
Profile Image for Sundry.
659 reviews22 followers
September 11, 2007
I loved this book. I asked for it for Christmas because I thought it was going to be a guidebook. (And I’m going to be in Paris in May!)

Well. It is in a way, but it’s also a kind of magical book about writing. The very sort of thing that appeals to me. It asks for upping my commitment to writing. That’s the best thing I took away from The Artists’ Way, the challenge to challeng myself. (Which led me to join a writing group, go to a writer’s conference, become a PEN Emerging Voices fellow, help create writing retreats for my group, take personal time off to write, etc.)

Maisel encourages us to dream, and to dream big. He asks us to challenge ourselves and treat ourselves and go be a writer in Paris. Boy oh boy do I want this.

But he also talks about doing it in other places and in other ways. I found it perfectly inspiring and uplifting, and I doled it out to myself in short bursts.

I may just reread it right away. I may just have a writerly crush on Eric Maisel, whose The Art of the Book Proposal is also helping me quite a lot right now.

[Thanks largely to this book, I went to France for 3 weeks in May 2007 and spent a week in a studio apartment in Paris, rereading this book and living a mini ex-pat writer existence.)
Profile Image for Beth.
256 reviews
September 21, 2021
_A Writer's Paris_ is a delightful little book that feels good in the reader's hand, offers excellent advice for writing (whether you end up in Paris or not), and has equally delightful black & white illustrations by Danny Gregory and Claudine Hellmuth.

The advice is likely advice you've read before if you've read more than three books on the writing life, but it's always good to hear those messages over and over again and in this package with Maisel's advice, inspiration, and personal experiences of having lived in Paris as a writer, it feels like something fresh. In addition to the sound writing advice, the book is constructed with sound advice about how to plan and carry-out and long writing stay in Paris (or anywhere else that strikes your fancy) in order to write. This is no tourist's Paris with a little morning journaling he's suggesting. He's talking about BEING in Paris and writing there, and maybe you work in time to go to the Louvre and maybe you don't, but when you leave, you will have amassed pages and a sense of having accomplished the goal of living abroad. He also drops in historical tidbits and quotes from writers about both Paris and the writing practice.

This book would be a good gift for a young writer who wants to be a writer but who hasn't thought about what living a writer's life _really_ looks like. Other than the small type for the marginal quotes, it would also be a good gift for a middle aged writer who finally wants to commit to a writing dream. It will appeal to those people (perhaps Americans especially) who have plans for writing, who love Paris, and who want to live a purposeful, artful life.
Profile Image for Ty.
Author 13 books28 followers
November 19, 2019
Paris has never been in my top three places I want to see before I die, and this book didn't change that. It did however manage to make the city sound more interesting, especially to the artist, that I would have found it to be on my own.

Not that Paris is always Paris in this book. Though at time very much a travelogue of sorts, the author makes it clear throughout the book that the lessons of Paris can be almost as invigorating to the writing life as can literally visiting the city. In that regard, mindfulness, courage, dedication, an open mind and other attributes explored via Paris in these pages can benefit us anywhere.

At times it has an ever so light trace of privilege to it. The concept of something costing "only 10,000 dollars" is quite foreign to me. I think somewhat fewer people could make a go of living in Paris to write for a few months than the author imagines.

But even this sense of privilege is addressed within the book itself. And I already mentioned, the concepts could fit nicely into just about any writers life with a little imagination. (Which of course is the ultimate point of this book, I would argue.)

A short, thoughtful, and to me at times a surprising read this book brings new perspectives on familiar concepts. The author's great affection for both the city and the creative life is obvious and at times an inspiration. A near-must read for both creatives and fans of Paris.
Profile Image for Jamie Jack.
Author 1 book81 followers
September 15, 2019
The City of Lights from a Writer’s Perspective

What an unusual and delightful book! I'm been finding it hard to describe precisely. The author is a writer who has spent time writing his books in Paris, and this book is meant to encourage other authors to make a similar pilgrimage for their art. He is very specific about places to go, sometimes just to appreciate the place and sometimes to inspire writing. It's broken down into 34 lessons, which are bite-sized nuggets about writing, Paris, or some aspect of the French or France. He discusses practical issues on occasion, like writing blueprints for your time in Paris and how to work around the potential language barrier. The glimpse he gives of Paris is very intimate, discussing things like footbridges and the human scale of the city. You can tell the man has a great affection and appreciation for Paris, and not only for what magic it evokes for his creative Muse but also for itself. I have never been to France—but took the language in high school and college—but I will admit that this book has given me a bit of the travel bug, making me wish that I would take such a writing pilgrimage. Perhaps one day. And I know just the guidebook to help me along the path.

I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

Read my other reviews at https://www.readingfanaticreviews.com.
Profile Image for Phyllis.
765 reviews40 followers
May 13, 2020
I have had this book on my shelf for years, waiting for the right time to pick it up. It was given to my husband and me before our first trip to Paris. Neither of us read it then, but I just felt like now was a good time since we have had to cancel our current (and fourth) Paris trip due to COVID-19. Would this short book substitute for a trip to Paris? Actually, it was a fun way to virtually visit one of my favorite places. And to make plans for the next trip. In some ways it's a "how-to write" book without containing writing technique tips. But it's really more of a motivator with Paris as the setting. The writing style is upbeat and humorous. I found myself laughing out loud many times. What I especially liked was the lists of museums, bookstores, cafes, and day trips. So it's also a travel guide with lots of illustrations, fun historical facts, tips about various things to do on a budget and also encouragement to get you to write, if that's what you want to do when visiting the City of Light.
Profile Image for Warren Ward.
Author 1 book31 followers
January 12, 2020
A writing friend recommended this to me for my recent self-arranged writing residency in Paris and it was perfect. Bite-sized pieces that I could read each day for inspiration about places/things/attitudes to get me in right frame of mind for creating. And it had a very important message which I heeded - to write in Paris you have to sit on your bum for many hours and write! The writing won't just appear from endlessly swanning around Paris's glorious streets, although I made sure i did a bit of that too...
Profile Image for Lisa.
292 reviews7 followers
May 1, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed this charming book, with its can-do spirit, sense of adventure, and heartfelt encouragement to embrace the writing life, whether in Paris or Pittsburgh (or your kitchen table). Maisel has a generous soul, and it shines from these beautifully illustrated pages. I felt inspired after reading it.
9 reviews23 followers
August 5, 2022
I read this book as part of my research before my first trip to Paris. Even if you aren't a writer I think this works as a guidebook to see Paris from a different perspective than that of a tourist. My copy is full of underlined passages and margin notes. Even if one doesn't go to Paris but wants to write this book will be inspiring.
Profile Image for Louisa Deasey.
Author 2 books30 followers
August 9, 2017
Lovely, comforting, elegant little book - I read it before a trip to Paris, but it's as much about the delights of the writing life as well.
Profile Image for Bea Elwood.
917 reviews8 followers
August 7, 2018
Danny's illustrations are the best part. The first 20 pages had been inspiring but then it was whiny and self-indulgent.
Profile Image for Jenna.
222 reviews
September 23, 2016
I loved this book. Truly loved it. It is as much about Paris as writing and I saw myself echoed so much on its' pages. A gem, a treasure and I will savor this over and over.
Profile Image for Dvora Treisman.
Author 1 book19 followers
March 13, 2020
I didn't remember that I had already read this, although I did think that here and there he had copied from someone else, only I couldn't think of who. Now I know why those parts were familiar.

Well, on second reading, seven years later, it doesn't make that great an impression. I think this is one of those small books that are thin on information or ideas. If you want to know what he says to do in order to write in Paris, find an apartment/studio, write three times a day. There you have it. He says to write in parks, cafes, churches. And walk a lot. But make no pilgrimages. Maisel is anti-pilgrimage. I don't agree, and I certainly don't want Maisel telling me what to do when I'm in Paris or anywhere else. He can suggest, but don't dictate! I went to Pere Lachaise Cemetery on my last visit as a pilgrimage. I've read all of the Colette books that have been translated into English and I wanted to visit her grave, pay my respects, and thank her for all the hours I've spent enjoying her writing. And the next time I go to Paris I'll visit somewhere else that has meaning for me. So there!

This felt like a formula book. I saw that Maisel has written more than fifty books, so I suspect he has come up with a formula, like what to do to visit and write in Paris -- something that will sell, and he writes a short book, thin on information, and full of .....

Written in 2013:
If you just want a guidebook for visiting Paris, this is a good one. If you like to write and would like to try a writing adventure in an extended visit to Paris, this is the book for you. And if you want to write but find you never really have the time, this is also the book for you. I just finished reading it and will now go through it with a little notebook and pen beside me, because some of the ideas and some of the wonderful quotes are worth saving.
I think it was Carol who recommended this. Thanks!
Profile Image for Erin.
316 reviews13 followers
December 10, 2019
"Paris is a golden opportunity to make messes. It is the perfect place to write the pitiful along with the wonderful, the short story from hell that becomes the short story from heaven, the screenplay with no plot that becomes the epitome of muscled narrative. Forget about masterpieces! Just come ready to write. Come with ideas, hope, and a genuine willingness to take the bad with the good."

It is a rare treat to read a book that feels like it was written just for you. I stumbled into the Red Wheelbarrow bookstore this fall and found a copy of "A Writer's Paris" by the register. (Penelope, the shop proprietor, encouraged me to buy it and told me as I paid for it, "I'm in it!" And sure enough, she was!) As a writer who travels to Paris twice a year to write, SO MUCH of this beautiful (and beautifully illustrated) book resonated with me. I found myself nodding along and underlining sentences and thinking Maisel had plucked observations directly from my brain.

The only bit of advice Maisel dispensed that I would disagree with is his assertion that you don't need to learn French to truly enjoy Paris. It's true that you can definitely get around only in English, but you're doing yourself a disservice by only skimming the surface of the city, especially as a writer trying to establish a routine there. So much more of the city and its history and its inhabitants are open to you if you speak the language. I know writing is a solitary pursuit, but eventually you'll need to speak with someone besides a waiter or cashier.
Profile Image for Mia Parviainen.
121 reviews6 followers
April 13, 2013
I bought this book at the dollar store and read it in two days. I was hoping that it would contain some interesting writing advice that I could use for my own work and while teaching creative writing. It didn't.

The premise of the book is about how to go to Paris for the sake of writing. How to save money, to plan, to pace, to eat, to occupy cafe tables. So, honestly, if your dream is to go to Paris like an expat of the 1920s, drink coffee and nibble on a croissant, this book might be helpful. It has comprehensive lists of neighborhoods, museums, apartment listings, potential work opportunities, etc.

I have no dreams of going to Paris, and yet this book started to convince me that it could actually work. Maisel suggests that with careful planning and a regimented schedule, a full-length novel could be produced in six months. Of course, that would be living in a Parisian shoe box, subsisting on simple foods, and learning to enjoy the inexpensive pleasures of the city. Still, it seems like a realistic experiment.

I know many consider Paris very magical. I wonder what would happen if the same were done in other cities. I'm contemplating trying Maisel's plan in my own city for a summer month, and seeing what happens. I might not have much done in the way of fiction, but I might discover where to get a great cup of tea.
Profile Image for Faye Powell.
50 reviews1 follower
October 8, 2014
Just write, the author says, no matter where you are, but then why not do it in Paris once in awhile, where there are all sorts of delightful places to get your writing groove on? You don't need to be a writer to enjoy this book, but reading it may make you want to travel like one. Maisel urges the writer to forego the major tourist sites in favor of the small cafes, parks, bridges and other everyday places that make excellent places to write. And when not writing, "Stroll everywhere." Be a flaneur, an observer who wanders the streets "to notice with childlike enjoyment the smallest events and the obscurest sights he encounters." It's sort of a magical, poetic travel guide-writing book interspersed with drawings and photographs. There is even a literary recommended reading list along with other useful resources for planning your trip. I'm definitely going to make room in my suitcase for this little book when I go to Paris.
Profile Image for Amy Moritz.
326 reviews16 followers
October 15, 2015
I saw a number of reviews expressing disappointment in the book. The reasons varied but it almost always was because it didn't live up to the expectations of that reader. Hence the joy of entering a book because it "sounds good" without looking for anything specific from it. I loved this book because it was beautiful and simple and yet challenged me to be s writer. Did it make me want to go to Paris? Of course. Did it make me want to recommit to my own writing? You bet! More than that, it gave me a new way to look at life and traveling and writing.

"A novel is just the stuff of life organized and punctuated in the writer's idiosyncratic way."

"Even magical places lose their allure when you abandon your art."
Profile Image for Bill Fox.
324 reviews
August 12, 2019
I never had thought about going to Paris specifically to write and have had no real plans for writing a novel, which is what A Writer's Paris is about. Part 'how to' book, part cheerleading and part guide to Paris, it was interesting enough to finish even though I have no plans to write a novel or anything else in Paris. If I do get to Paris, I am going to let myself be distracted by all that the city has to offer. I would not, however, discourage anyone from reading this book. Someone else might be inspired to go to Paris to write and it does sound kind of fun....

A Writer's Paris is entertaining, informative and nicely illustrated.
May 13, 2009
A dear friend gave this book to me as a birthday present - and it simply got me fly away.. to Paris! A guided journey for the creative soul - stated in the cover - and literally guides me from pages to pages on how to transform what I've seen into describing it, taking others to 'see' it too, to smell, hear, taste, and feel.. One insightful sentence here: 'when your character drops a coin, your readers should be able to hear it..'

Highly recommended - a feast for your mind!
Profile Image for Shelby Harper.
112 reviews6 followers
May 4, 2012
I just reread this gem of a book, discovering more meaning about life and writing than I did in my first read. Maisel discusses inspiration, writer's block, the importance of strolling, and even lays out a plan how you can arrange your life so that you can write in Paris for six months or even a year! I love this book because it is beautiful and nurturing to the person committed to the (sometimes) solitary act of writing.
Profile Image for Leilani Barnett.
8 reviews3 followers
July 15, 2012
This is one of my favorite re-reads. It inspired me to look for writing and studying opportunities overseas and led to my spending a month in Dublin, Ireland a couple of years ago. Next summer, I'm aiming to take Maisel's words on a more literal level and spend July in Paris at a creative writing course! Delightful little book--even if you don't go to Paris! The same principles can be used in your own neighborhood!
Profile Image for Elusive.Mystery.
486 reviews6 followers
August 8, 2012
A pretty, stupid, or shall I say, a pretty stupid book, with insipid texts about writing in Paris. On the positive side, the presentation is exquisite: linen covered outer cover, thick, pleasing to the touch, semi-glossy paper, old-fashioned B&W photos, collages (by Claudine Hellmuth), moody sketches (by Dan Gregory). The problem with this book is the text: The useful stuff would fit a mere three of this waste of 214 pages.
Author 14 books17 followers
September 2, 2008
Not what I expected. This book is REALLY about going to Paris to write. Guess I was looking for more of an inspirational writer's book. Since I'm not about to pack my bags and go to Paris to write for a few months, I didn't get much out of this book. But it WAS interesting. And I do enjoy reading Eric Maisel's writer books normally.
893 reviews13 followers
August 11, 2012
This book has more to do with the hard work of finding a purpose and fulfilling it than with writing or Paris. I like how it all weaves together, and the design junkie in me is pretty gaga over the exterior at least. This is something I'll come back to when my writing or any other creative work needs an injection.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,049 reviews6 followers
June 13, 2014
This was a fun travel book for writers that is by no means a traditional run down of the tourist things to do. It was just want I wanted in talking about strolling, searching for gargoyles and the world's oldest square. I was first attracted to this book's interesting mix of old photos, collage, and clip art. Artfully arranged.
Profile Image for Lorna.
302 reviews9 followers
September 20, 2009
I read this book in little bits at a time. Each time I read a bit I was inspired to write my own fiction. I love this book. I have since picked up several other books by Eric Maisel. This one will be my favorite. I will read it again and again.
Profile Image for Cindy Lofgren.
192 reviews4 followers
January 8, 2016
I'm no writer (nor aspiring to be) but I thought I could find nuggets of info and find some new haunts in Paris. I got a few and he has some great links in the back resource section. Other than that, the author is kind of pompous and really makes no sense at all in several sections.
3 reviews
March 21, 2016

Not supposed to be but is a great travel book. What a way to explore Paris without all the tourist bolderdash.
Plus it generates enough creative juice to get you going. Always liked his ideas on generating
creativity and writing.
A favorite book on my bookshelf.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 41 reviews

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