Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Far Cry From Hemingway: Writing in Paris

As a relatively new author, with my first two books published in January and May of this year, I'm still getting used to the label "American writer in Paris." That's partly due to the fact that I still have a day job. But I make sure to write in whatever spare pockets of time I have. From blogging to guest posts to starting the next book in my series, there's always something to write!

It might sound glamorous - an American writer in Paris. Ambling into a cafe, perhaps an old Hemingway haunt, tugging a notepad (likely the digital kind) from a designer bag, and churning out prose while downing cup after tiny cup of espresso.

In reality, most of my writing happens during nighttime nursing sessions, hunched over my laptop in the dark. Not so glamorous, huh? Well, I had to keep your jealousy at bay somehow!

I wrote most of my first book, Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, after my son had gone to bed. If ideas came to me on the Métro or while I was strolling around town, I'd make a note in my phone. I'd often work through lunch and write a chapter or edit previous sections.

For my sequel, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, I wrote 95% of it from my couch since I was stuck on bed rest with Baby #2, Stella. I knew I wanted my final chapter to be about her, so it had to wait until she was born. Not one to waste a minute, I penned the final chapter during my four-day hospital stay after Stella was born.

Trousseau, the hospital where both of my children were born and where
I wrote the final chapter of Confessions of Paris Potty Trainer

But I can't end this post with such an anticlimactic view of the writing life in Paris! For me, the glamour and excitement come from the actual stories I write, and since my books are memoirs, the stories are all true. While the writing itself may take place in my tiny Parisian apartment, the inspiration comes from living in this vibrant, crazy, amazing, fascinating city. A trip to the boulangerie can turn into an entire chapter in my book (literally, chapter 9 in Confessions of a Paris Party Girl). Meeting my French husband in a bar. Getting married across from the Louvre. Enjoying a picnic. Buying flowers.

The streets of Paris, where I find inspiration for my stories

Nine years in this city has inspired countless stories and wonderful memories. And I love writing about it, sharing with my readers, and saving a slice of my personal history for my kids (and grandkids, one day) to read about!

Another View

Fellow American writer in Paris, Adria J. Cimino, is co-hosting the "Paris in July" event this year and has invited me along. She and I are writing about similar themes throughout the month, sharing our different perspectives. Here's her take on writing in Paris:

Author Adria J. Cimino
When you walk by such historical places as Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots you're more likely to see a tourist or tired shopper than a writer. You won't see many solitary individuals scribbling in notebooks for hours or writers regularly running into each other and having drinks.

Read the full post here

Paris in July: Musings on the City of Light

This post is part of "Paris in July," an annual Paris-themed blogging event created by Karen at A Wondering Life and Tamara at Thyme for Tea. Join in the fun and check out their sites for awesome posts about the City of Light, contributed from bloggers around the world!

More "Paris in July" Posts

7/1: Paris in July: Kickin' It Off
7/5: Taking on the Marais with Vicki and Lily
7/9: Paris A to Z
7/11: Life is Better in Flip Flops
7/12: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Berthillon
7/14: Bastille Day
7/15: Les Arches d'Or
7/21: French Optimism
7/22: This One Time In Paris
7/24: Collect Moments, Not Things
7/26: Writing in Paris
7/31: Paris in July: Looking Ahead to August

Escape to Paris

Vicki Lesage, Author