Do you prefer Paris? You may enjoy Richard Nahem’s blog I Prefer Paris, which brings all his talent as a writer, chef, guide, photographer, interviewer, and restaurant critic together in one place. Richard, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, also leads personalized walking tours www.eyepreferparistours.com, showing clients the Paris they never usually see on their own. Today, Richard shares his inspiration, the rewards of blogging, and advice to struggling writers.
What brought you to Paris?
I am asked that question all the time especially from my tour clients and half kid them and say that I moved here for the pastries and bread. I moved here in 2005 after living in New York all my life. I wanted to live in Paris ever since my first trip here when I was 20 and finally made it happen.
What keeps you in Paris?
I really love my jobs. I love showing people Paris, especially the hidden gems, things they probably will never find on their own. Also, I like the responsibility of fulfilling their dreams about Paris. My blog is like having my own magazine where I write the stories, take the pictures, edit, etc. I love taking the photos and searching out new ideas and inspiration all the time for new stories. It’s very fulfilling. I have always wanted to be a travel photographer and I get to fulfill that dream too.
What books are on your nightstand?
I received a copy of Madame Sevigne’s letters as a gift from Penelope at Red Wheelbarrow and it is on my nightstand. How much I will get to read, well that’s a whole other story.
Why did you start your blog?
It’s an interesting story. When I first moved here I started to write about the move and its challenges and it started to take a book form with funny stories and anecdotes. Someone told me I should post the chapters on a blog (I barely knew what a blog was in 2006), this way I would build an audience for the book and it would be easier to find a publisher. I liked the idea but realized that I would run out of chapters after posting for a few weeks. I was intrigued by this blog idea and came up with Eye Prefer Paris, an insiders guide to Paris. I started it in June 2006 and have been posting 4 X a week ever since.
What have some of the rewards been?
The rewards have been rich and unexpected in a good way. Before my blog, I had never really written before and a few months after I started someone who had a popular Paris website about the Marais emailed me and said they liked my writing and asked me if I wanted to write some articles for his site. I wrote a few articles for him and between that and writing my blog all the time, it gave me confidence in my writing skills. A few other publications asked me to write for them and then I started pursuing writing jobs on my own. I now write for my blog and 2 other publications regularly and I also write other freelance articles about Paris. Another benefit of the blog is I have made friends with some of my readers and formed some amazing relationships. In fact one of my closest friends is someone who emailed me about my blog and wanted to meet me. I have received some of the most endearing emails and letters from people about how my writing has affected their lives. I now realize the real power and influence of writers.
Some of the challenges?
I don’t really find it challenging because I always have something to write about. In fact if I had the time, I could write the blog 7X a week and not run out of things to write. Sometimes I get a little burnt out from having to produce the blog 4X a week but I do take blogging breaks a few times a year to recharge my batteries.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a blog?
The two c-words: commitment and consistency. You have to be consistent and write a post at least twice a week in order for it to be successful. Also, study other successful blogs and see why they are successful. Be personal and real, but don’t spill all the gory details about your life. Nobody is interested in why you had your cat spayed or why you broke up with your boyfriend. Do it because you love it. People will respond to that.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
‘Ask for what you want and get it.’ That always stuck with me.
How does living in a foreign country affect your writing?
That’s hard to say since Paris was the inspiration for me to start my blog.
At what hour of the day does inspiration strike? (Or what time of the day do you feel the most productive?)
It’s not so much a time of the day. Inspiration usually comes from an outside source, usually something I see, someone I meet, something I read about, something I pass on the street and say wow! I have to write about that.
What is your favorite Parisian café?
I have three – Café Flore in St. Germain des Pres, Café Nemours in front of the Palais Royal and the Comedie Francaise, and Ma Bourgogne on the Place des Vosges.
My blog readers really like my photos, so I am going to start selling prints of them on my blog. I would like to travel more and do travel journalism and have my stories and photos published. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many other ideas I have and things I want to do.
Next week’s interview is with Susan Tiberghien, author and founder of the Geneva Writers’ Conference.
Read this interview for a chance to win a copy of Moonlight in Odessa: http://goo.gl/J12I