The Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) method is based on a very simple belief system, or a little acronym I like to use: U GAWD this!
- Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
- Everyone is born with creative genius.
- Writing is an art form that belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
- A writer is someone who writes.
- Do no damage: the teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.
Cast Off! Writers’ Workshops shares these beliefs, and upholds them by following these core AWA practices:
- Everyone’s writing, including the group leader’s, is treated with equal respect and value.
- Writing is kept confidential and is treated as fiction or story to instill freedom and trust in the group.
- Writers can refrain from reading their work aloud.
- Responses to just-written work reflect only what is strong. lasting and successful.
- Responses and exercises support the development of literary 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, writer and founder of Amherst Writers and Artists.