The Amherst Writers & Artists practices form the foundation for what we do in the Writer’s Workshop. The AWA group trained me in leadership, then sent me back into Texas to found my own personalized practices.

Whether you participate in our community as a monthly manuscript member, or one of our weekly Tuesday night series writers, the AWA foundations still serve all of us who gather around the Workshop’s table. Pat Schneider is the guru of the AWA, and here’s what she reminded us this month:

If you have lived, you have a story. If you can speak your story, you can write it. It doesn’t matter who you are; you have been using language since you were an infant, and you already know how to use it to move those close to you. Everybody has a life, everybody has a story, everybody has a natural, internal understanding of craft.

This is a nurturing message no matter where you are in your writing life — learning how to speak out on paper, or polishing craft for submissions to publishers, or searching for the right story to start to tell in your own words. Everybody can write. We enjoy a mix of skill and experience levels among our members, including those who always hoped and knew they could write.

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