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I drafted this newsletter yesterday before we entered lockdown in Paris. As of midnight last night all restaurants, bars, and public spaces were ordered to close. It's still to soon to report on this other than to say today lots of people—including myself—were out and about, including to vote in municipal elections.

As we've entered a new strange throughout the world I ponder the moments when we could have paid more attention to stop this before it started. Slowed down. Listened. Asked more questions.

As a distraction, I've literally been time traveling though Paris to the 1940s. A few streets in my neighborhood have had a face lift for the forthcoming movie, "Adieu Monsieur Haffmann." I've loved watching it get built, and even witnessed a couple scenes being shot.

More movie set photos on my Instagram + Stories hightlights

I've always been a fan of going behind the scenes of how things work. I loved it from when I worked at a theater in Baltimore, to studying STORY with Robert McKee, and taking Annie Atkins workshop on Graphic Design for Film in her Dublin studio (she was behind the graphics of Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel"). 

I know from my one time as an extra on "The Love Punch" (starring Pierce Brosnan an Emma Thompson) that it can take two solid days of elaborate sets, costumes, and make-up to get 4-minutes of film, which in the end is more like 1-minute that actually makes it into the film. And of course you are cut from it. (It's OK, the movie was a flop anyway.) Here's hoping the movie I witnessed this week is a different story, and all their efforts to this point aren't lost to an unexpected pause.

While I'm taking the current situation very seriously—hello social distancing—I think we're all going to need some distractions and inspiration other than the news. While it's not a week like any other, here's some inspiration for a temporary distraction and moment of normalcy.


Annie Atkins has a new book out, Fake love letters, forged telegrams, and prison escape maps : Designing graphic props for filmmaking which talks through how she creates props for films. (Hint: nothing is imagined, all the inspiration comes from something real.) 


Li Edelkoort is a Dutch trend forecaster based in Paris. As a guest on the podcast Time Sensitive she talked about "why doing less is more" (Dec 2019). “To get rid of greed is the only way forward, so we have to somehow train ourselves and others in being more content with a bit less.” A March article in Deezen, "Coronavirus offers 'a blank page for a new beginning' says Li Edelkoort" she goes on to examine "a quarantine of consumption." Maybe right now really is the reset we needed...


My knowledge of Judy Garland ended at seeing her in "The Wizard of Oz" but I had the chance to watch "Judy" on one of my flights last month. Renée Zellweger definitely deserved her Oscar for her performance. (It turns out the life of a star isn't always glamorous, or easy.) In addition to learning more about Garland, I also completely fell in love with her style. I want the pant suit she wears in the beginning of the film, but really, I'd wear it all!

Workshop update

Last week I announced my first Paris workshop—Write Your Own Rules—which was so exciting for me, and to see so many people sign up. It's hard to predict what state things are going to be in come April (the goal was to keep it an intimate group of 20), but I'll keep monitoring the situation, and am even considering moving the workshop online. (If you already signed up, I'll be emailing tomorrow to check in.)

While I've been training for years when it comes to working from home and working remotely, I know it's new to many people. If you need a break and to learn something new, I'm teaming up with Karen Ward of Curiosity Global to co-host a webinar which she'll be leading on March 24th. It's completely free and should be a lot of fun!
Excavate Your Everyday Life for Insights + Ideas
If creativity is all about connecting different and disparate ‘dots' so we can come up with something new, we need to make sure we’ve got lots of ‘dots' to connect. The good news is this: those ‘dots' are everywhere. Insights, ideas and inspiration are all around us if we’re curious enough to look. 

In this online workshop and Q+A session, Karen Ward, the Founder of Curiosity Global, and dot collector and connector extraordinaire, is going to share a simple four-step framework that will strengthen our curiosity and creativity muscles so we can generate original ideas by excavating our everyday lives. 

Join us on Tuesday, March 24 at 2:00pm EDT! (Heads up, not everyone has had daylight savings time!)
In these strange times I encourage you to consider how you can support local businesses and freelancers. It's extra rough as our pay gets cut instantly. (My latest cancellation arrived today.)

Now is also a great time to learn something new. As a reminder, you can find loads of classes from me online. On Skillshare: Map Making, Basic InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé and UX design classes on OpenClassrooms. I also run if you're planning a future trip to Paris. The good news is that my coaching calls still can go on as normal. (Thank you, technology! 🙏)

I have friends coming out with books these days who've had to cancel book tours. Consider buying a book or gifting one to a friend. Pre-orders are key to the success of an author too. (Did you know independent booksellers ship too? Even Shakespeare & Co. in Paris does!) This illustration from Jean Jullien made me laugh. 🎂😷 Today's actually my birthday 🎉 but I ended up "postponing my birthday" [plans] in hopes of keeping the germs at bay even before the government ordered the shut down. Instead I'm spending it feeling grateful for all that I do have.

Stay safe! Wash your hands regularly with soap and water (and clean that phone case too). And keep your distance!

Sending you a virtual hug. 💗
Anne S. Ditmeyer is a creative coach + consultant who helps people think creatively in their work and life to push past those pesky standards society has put on us. Sign up for a curiosity call to learn more.
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