All posts filed under: creativity break

Fall Nature Walk

The fall is our favorite season in Paris and we love making the most of it before winter comes. After those infamous long August vacations, September is the time to embrace la rentrée – or “back to school” – and there is a new and exciting energy throughout the city which continues through the autumn months. With this fresh start come new projects, ideas, businesses, and everyone feels recharged and ready to explore. Not to mention the weather: crisp, sunny fall days highlight Paris at it’s best, and inspire all kinds of adventures. One of our favorite things to do is take a fall nature walk, either in one of the many parks or just along an area with trees and greenery. As the leaves are changing, the urban landscape comes to life and this type of walk can be just what you need to clear your mind and get inspired by your surroundings. Prompt: take a fall nature walk in one of the places we recommend or your favorite outdoor spot. Absorb the nature and your …

Mood board: visualize a creative idea

Sometimes if you are in a creative rut making a mood board or collage can help inspire you. Kind of like Pinterest, but with real magazines/newspapers/printed materials. It can be useful to lay out a vision on paper, set a creative goal, or just collect images that speak to you. Get your hands on some magazines, catalogues, newspapers etc. and a few basic crafting materials (paper, scissors, glue, tape) and spend an afternoon flipping through and cutting out what catches your eye. Once you have a collection of images, play around with arranging them on a big piece of paper. How to they work together or conflict? Is there a common theme? Hopefully the result will be inspiring and maybe shed light on a new project idea or creative direction. This can apply to all creative practices! You might be surprised by what direction your board takes or reveals. ps this is a great rainy day activity, and fun to do alone or with friends. Annie: Nora:

Favorite Ways to Stay Creative

We’ve all been in a creative rut, felt writer’s block, or just uninspired in general (it’s part of the reason we started this blog!!). Sometimes it can be very difficult to get back to your creative practices so here is a list of simple things to help get the juices flowing:  -Keep a journal: write down random thoughts, quotes from other people, interesting words, ideas, doodles etc. -Morning pages (see our upcoming post!) -Carry a camera (or phone with a camera) and take a photo of anything and everything you see throughout the day that’s interesting – Collect images from newspapers, magazines, fabric scraps, found photos and paste them into a sketchbook – Go to museums and galleries (absorbing visual information will help inspire your own creative practice) – Read art blogs (seeing other people’s work can help get the creativity flowing– there is no real such thing as copying, all art pulls influence from somewhere) – Buy or borrow short story anthologies from the library (one of the best pieces of advice a Creative …

Window Sketch

For this creativity break, take a picture of a window that you like visually or that intrigues you in some way. Maybe it’s a window you pass daily, or one that stands out in an unfamiliar area. Write a short character sketch about who you think lives inside, what they do, or what goes on behind the window. It can be a more formalized short story, or simply a free form writing exercise in imagination. bonus: send us your photo and text and we’ll publish a collection of window sketches from around the world!  Nora: Behind the orange and white striped windows lived Cornelius. He spent his days selling popcorn at a movie theater, and at night he chain smoked, wrote bad poems, and sometimes tried to paint in search of the romanticized “starving artist in paris” life he had read about so many times. He’d been squatting in this abandoned building for 3 weeks, eating tuna out of a can, and trying not to start a fire with the candles scattered all over the room–so far …

Photo a Day

For this daily creativity break we chose to take a photo every day for a month (work days only) in the same spot on our commute. The point of this exercise is to observe something we see everyday in a new light by freezing the moment in time.       Try it yourself and then ask these questions: What is the same each day? What is different? What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before? Why did you choose this spot? See below for our photos! Annie: Nora:

Scent Mapping

        It has been said that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. Whenever I return to Paris, it’s the scents that trigger my memory first. For this creativity break, we invite you to follow your nose by mapping your daily commute. What are the smells that strike you the most? Baking bread, laundry detergent, the impermeable cloud of cigarette smoke? Focus on this sense. See how it changes the way you experience your environment and if it changes the places or people you pass by everyday. If you want to use this prompt as a creativity or meditation break, end here. If you want to take it further, we encourage you to map out your commute and the smells you encounter along the way. Take a look at our maps and reflections below: Nora: I wouldn’t say that smell is my strongest sense, but it’s hard not to notice the pungent smells that are emitted from Parisian streets. My favorite smell of Paris is the one of freshly baked bread …

Rainy Day in Paris

Rain is a common occurrence in Paris and often unexpected. It can be sunny one moment and then the sky will open up and you will be drenched! But there are plenty of things to do in Paris in the rain, and the city takes on a kind of beautiful melancholy. Idea 1: KB Cafeshop + drawing exercise           Situated in the ever more hipster South Pigalle, KB Cafeshop boasts great coffee, sandwiches and homemade desserts. The close quarters of the tables provides a great opportunity for eavesdropping and observing fellow patrons. Creativity Break: “blind” drawing While enjoying your coffee, start people watching. Pick out someone who looks interesting and as discreetly as possible draw a portrait of them. Important: DO NOT look down at the paper. Keep your eyes on your subject until you have finished. (we found it a little awkward to stare at random strangers, so feel free to look around while drawing, just don’t look down!) Hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your Picasso-esque results. Nora: Annie: …

Proust and a dream house

On a lazy afternoon head to your favorite cafe, park, or any other place where you feel comfortable and can spend an extended amount of time. Feel free to bring a friend. Bring the Proust questionnaire (questions about your personality and aspirations) with you and choose at least 8 to ask yourself and your companion. Take your time, but go with your gut when answering. You may find out something you didn’t know about yourself or your friend. Note: We picked Le Pavillion des Canaux in the 19th arrondissement. Situated on the Bassin de la Villette, this coffee shop/clubhouse is filled with funky furnishings and comfortable corners. We especially liked the repurposed bathtub option. At one time a private house, and with the rooms still intact, you will feel at home spending all day reading/writing/chatting or daydreaming. Annie Favorite object at le Pavillon: Nora Favorite object at le Pavillon :  

Found photographs & short stories

Instructions: get your hands on a found image. A photograph, vintage magazine ad, postcard, any image that you did not create. Study the image. What are the first thoughts that it inspires? What story is this image telling? Write a short story or poem based on the image. Use your imagination! If you are in Paris we recommend Images & Portraits (37 rue Charlot, Paris 3e) as the perfect source for acquiring found images. Nora Annie “The Pigeon”