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What if you could save up the money, take six months off, and live as a writer?

Book Review: A Writer’s Paris by Eric Maisel

A Writer's Paris, a guided journey for the creative soul, is by Eric Maisel, the prolific and thoughtful writer, a San Francisco-based creativity coach and author of more than 25 books.

This soft, lovely, illustrated book reminds us why we love Paris. In part, it is the allure of the intellectual traditions, of the time when George Sand, Gertrude Stein and Jean Paul Sartre roamed the cafés, when the life of a starving artist in a garret, eating one small café meal a day, was a reality for many famous writers.  "Virtually any idea you can think of has been birthed or batted about in the studios, classrooms and cafes of Paris – it is the birthplace of the humanistic tradition," writes Maisel.

For the dreamer, especially, A Writer's Paris presents a way to think about your writing in a serious manner. What if you could save up the money, take six months off, and live in Paris as a writer? Maisel offers a six-month plan for writing a novel and a checklist with a sample day-by-day timeline to do just that.

Can't stretch the metaphor of being a writer in Paris to your neighborhood café? Maisel's point, in part, is if the neighborhood café or McDonald's is your reality, it's a fine place to write.

Whether you choose to put a writing plan into action in Paris, or San Francisco, another of Maisel's writing destinations, the steps are the same:

  • Nurture your writing desire
  • Articulate your goals
  • Have a timeline
  • Plan your writing projects
  • Create a routine…

All very good advice whether you're a writer in Paris or Portland, so long as you are writing. "Don’t blame someone else when you aren't writing," says Maisel.

Research tips in A Writer's Paris include such practical matters as finding affordable lodging, making day trips from Paris and spending long hours in museums and especially parks. These times of quiet observation may restore the focus lacking in our ordinary lives at home – a time to walk, reflect, imagine, open the mind to the creative process, and write freely for hours each day.

For the optimist, Maisel includes practical strategies for publishing, and sticking to an agenda, to complete the writing tasks… not perfectly, but achieved.

A Writer's Paris includes a nice mix of tourism and history, with the hidden gems Maisel discovered during several long stays in Paris. Overall, this little book would make a special gift for a writer, or a well-deserved indulgence for the writer in you. "Bring your pad; bring a pen; the rest is easy."

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