Laura Moretz is an Amherst Writers & Artists affiliate, certified to lead writing workshops with the method desribed by Pat Schneider in her book Writing Alone and With Others. She leads workshops for general populations as well as groups of women who are in transition, due to issues such as addiction or homelessness.
What is Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA)? The AWA is an international association of writing facilitators who lead writing groups that support creative risks by establishing an atmosphere of trust and safety. These are the five affirmations that anchor the method:
1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
2. Everyone is born with creative genius.
3. Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
4. The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.
5. A writer is someone who writes (Schneider, 2003).
To allow for safe expression, AWA writing groups are conducted with respect for people’s privacy and dignity–members are asked not to discuss writing with the writers or to describe it outside of the group. These practices establish a safe environment where everyone is free to explore their own voice and listen to each other with respect:
These are the five essential practices in AWA:
1. Everyone’s writing, including the leader’s, is treated with equal respect and value.
2. Writing is kept confidential and treated as fiction.
3. Writers can refrain from reading their work aloud.
4. Responses to just-written work reflect what is strong and successful.
5. Responses and exercises support the development of literary craft.
You can read more about the AWA method here.
Dates for upcoming workshops will be announced soon!