The Amherst Writers and Artists Method

istock 2776220

The Amherst Writers & Artists' philosophy is a simple one: every person is a writer, and every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn, and develop craft.

Whether your purpose for writing is artistic expression, communication with friends and family, the healing of the inner life, or achieving public recognition for your art - the foundation is the same: the claiming of yourself as an artist/writer and the strengthening of your writing voice through practice, study, and helpful response from other writers.

Pat Schneider Writing Alone and With Others
Oxford University Press, 2003, (0-19-516573-x)

Using the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) method, Green Windows workshops follow some simple guidelines to create a safe space where everyone feels confident and free to create, experiment, take risks, make things up, or tell the truth. 

A writing prompt is provided that can be used in any way one wishes, or not at all, and then we each write. Everyone is then invited to read what they wrote (but no one has to). We only give positive feedback. More critical feedback can come after a writer does some revision first on their own, if they wish. But, with such new, raw, writing, it is not yet time for anything other than what is good about the writing. We also treat all writing as fiction to create an environment that encourages risk-taking.

We learn about craft and strong writing from listening to each other's writing and from giving feedback, as well as from handouts and other material provided. We also learn from each other what is unique, strong, and natural in each of our writing voices. 

The AWA method, as described in Writing Alone and With Others, was developed by Pat Schneider over her more than thirty years of leading creative writing workshops.

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