Amherst Writers & Artists

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Jan leads workshops in Sacramento in the Amherst Writers & Artists method, created by Pat Schneider in Amherst, Massachusetts. The AWA method is an encouraging process writers, based on William Stafford’s aphorism that “A writer is someone who writes,” and that everyone has a voice worthy of the page.

The AWA philosophy is a simple one:

  • everyone has a strong, unique voice
  • everyone is born with creative genius
  • every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn and develop craft

Jan runs weekly writing workshops in Sacramento, typically on Saturday mornings in a midtown loft, and on two Friday evenings a month. Writers respond to prompts or, as Jan likes to say, “Write what needs to be written.” Writers are encouraged to read their brand-new work aloud, and the AWA method requires that all writing is treated as fiction to keep writers safe and to keep the focus on the writing. As the workshop leader, Jan, too, writes with the participants and reads aloud along with the other writers.

These practices, along with keeping all writing confidential, responding to just-written work with positive attention on what is strong in the writing, create a safe environment. Accomplished and beginning writers learn from one another in a generous atmosphere that works seriously to develop craft and holds personal respect for the value of every voice.

To purchase a copy of Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and with Others, which details the AWA method, click here.

Jan also trains AWA facilitators. Information about trainings can be found here.

To read Pat Schneider’s wonderful poem, “Blessing for a Writer,” click here.

To read Jan’s article, “Writing as Healing After a Loss,” about using the AWA method to work through grief and loss, click here.

To write with Jan or learn more about the AWA method and other AWA workshops in the Sacramento area, send her an email at