I was introduced to Amherst Writers & Artists in the early 90’s, writing with the facilitator Sue Reynolds in the Uxbridge Library. I still remember my trembling voice as I read my story amidst the other writers in the room. To hear back ‘what they liked’ or ‘what stood out for them’ sent a shockwave to my inner critic. That was the day a key turned in my heart. The feeling of positivity ignited by others was willing to wrestle with the badgering censor. I wanted to write – it was that simple. In 2014, I became a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator. Fast-forward, in September 2017, I returned to my roots in Newfoundland, Canada and in February 2019 a gentleman asked if there were any writing groups on Bell Island, where I live. TaDa! That’s when the ‘magic’ happened! I responded with, “As a matter of fact, I …”
Currently, I facilitate 4 groups and it is the most fulfilling work I do. I continue to write (daily) Alone and with Others (in my AWA workshops). I love the act of creating with language and at times sharing ‘my strong, unique voice’ with others as we affirm, “A writer is someone who writes!”
I sat outside in the dark, watching other people go in. I was shy and not sure that my writing was good enough for this group. But I had accepted the invitation from someone I really liked and respected - and my promise to her was more important than the awkwardness I felt. I'm glad I went in. Amherst Writers and Artists is a network of writers who are helping each other improve their writing by sharing what works and what's memorable. This positive approach helped me nurture my creative spirit and made me want to continue writing. This spring my first book of poetry was published - quite an achievement for the shy writer sitting outside in the dark.
Margot Falkenberg Jerome, writer.
I have been attending writing workshops offered by Amherst'-trained facilitator Desiree Kannel. I can't imagine a more nurturing and encouraging writing mentor. I began attending her Rose Writers Workshops after retiring from a profession where my writing was mostly research-based and technical. I wanted to see if I could transfer my skills to the creative genre. After a couple of years attending Desiree's workshops my confidence in my creative writing ability has increased exponentially. So much so that I've set a personal goal of making 2020 the year that I begin submitting. I will continue to attend the Rose Writers workshops as long as I can, as they fuel my confidence and ability as a writer.
I began writing with AWA in 1997. The AWA method lends itself to writers at all levels in their creative writing journey especially people who are marginalized by fear of writing, economics, or that special teacher who told them they could not. Founded by Pat Schneider, writer, author, activist, and amazing person, over 30 years ago.
AWA proudly proclaims that "everyone who has a story to tell, everyone who writes, is a writer" Thousands of writers across the U.S. and internationally have joined these living room workshops, published amazing literary work in all genre, and gone on to teach classes of their own. Workshop are held in prisons, universities, and is a movement that continues to spread.
Thanks to AWA facilitator training, I created the Women of Color Writers Workshop in 1999 which continues today in Brooklyn, NY. I am also in the process of publishing my first nonfiction book, and in 2010, I accepted a position on the AWA board of directors.
Information can be gathered at Amherst Writers & Artist. Publications are of high literary value. Pat Schneider's recent book, "Writing Alone and With Others" is a must have for those interested in overcoming writers block and expressing themselves through the art of writing.
There are workshops in most states, in Ireland, Canada, Africa, Japan and spreading.