If you are a mom and you are a writer, you probably know what it's like to frantically scribble down your ideas in broken crayon on the back of a tampon box while someone is pounding their tiny fist on the other side of the bathroom door. Or maybe that's just me. ​


If you're looking for a block of uninterrupted time each week to think and write and dream, look no further. This is your chance to play. I'll provide the prompts and you can relax and write. You'll have the opportunity to share your work and provide feedback for others. Each week, we will celebrate our strengths as writers and the fact that for one hour of the day no one is throwing up on us.


This is a chance for moms to get inspired, get connected, and get excited about creating a creative life. We meet most Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 at Petaluma Coffee and Tea Company. (Our new time isn't really morning anymore but the old name stuck.) Contact Nicki at for details. 


If our experience is our greatest asset, let’s face it. Alcoholics and addicts have got some great material. Whether you are an experienced writer or new to the page, this group provides a safe, supportive environment to find your voice and unleash your creativity.


As AWA affiliate John Crandall puts it, “That which was broken or only dimly understood comes clear as you write. When we can share our experiences in a safe, supportive environment, we realize even deeper benefits. We no longer endure in a vacuum, we become part of a community, supporting and being supported by others.”




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. The AWA method, which is fully described in founder Pat Schneider's book Writing Alone and With Others (Oxford University Press, 2003, and available at, provides just such an environment.


Unique to the AWA method, at the time of the publication of the book, are these two revolutionary practices:


• Everything in the writing workshop is treated as fiction, to minimize the personal vulnerability of the writer.


• The teacher or leader writes with the students or participants, and reads aloud along with the other writers.


These practices, along with keeping all writing confidential, responding to just-written work with encouragement rather than negative critique, help to create an environment that is non-hierarchical, honest, and safe. Accomplished and beginning writers learn from one another in a generous atmosphere of both critical craft and personal respect for the value of every voice.


The AWA method has been used successfully with experienced writers as well as beginners, writers who have confidence as well as those who are uncertain. It has been equally effective in helping those whose voices have traditionally been silenced by poverty, discrimination, illness, age or other obstacles to achieving the powerful combination of language and confidence needed to overcome social barriers. While the AWA method is not therapy, it has great healing potential for writers from all backgrounds. Writers who have used the AWA method have published major works and taken top prizes and awards in the U.S. and Ireland, and over a thousand have completed the AWA training program in workshop leadership.

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