Wondering if you can write?

The answer is always yes at AWA workshops.

Founder Pat Schneider believed we are born with creative genius that deserves to be realized. Workshops follow her philosophy that:

A writer is someone who writes, and every writer has a unique voice

About AWA

AWA is an international, not-for-profit writing organization

AWA has spent decades proving everyone can write and enjoy it, without criticism or judgment. Workshops follow a method proven to work to find your writing voice.

Workshops have been running globally since 1981. They are calm, safe (often joyous) spaces that respect your inner artist.

Find a workshop here.

Writing Can Heal
The method can also help participants work through emotions, relieve stress, and discover hidden strengths. Many AWA facilitators work with community service agencies to provide a powerful, non-clinical mode of support for their members

Read much more about AWA here.

About the AWA Method


“The AWA method… cracked open my world and spilled it with all of its light and darkness onto paper. It created a safe and supportive haven for my writing to flourish in poetry, in fiction, in memoir.” – from Annabelle Murray, on the AWA website


AWA workshops inspire and support you to find your authentic voice and to experiment without fear of criticism or judgment.

The Five Affirmations of AWA Workshops

  1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
  2. Everyone is born with creative genius.
  3. Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or education.
  4. The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.
  5. A writer is someone who writes.

What exactly happens in a Workshop?

Workshops are safe, encouraging, creative places that usually begin with the leader offering a writing prompt – the suggested starting point for a new piece of writing (by hand in a notebook or on your device)

  • From Memory or Imagination:  A prompt could be a sentence, an object, a photo or even a piece of music. But if the prompt doesn’t speak to you, you can write anything you want.
  • Everyone Writes: Groups are usually no larger than a dozen people, writing together in silence for short bursts (15 minutes) or longer.
  • Invited but not Mandatory: Everyone is invited to share their just written “first draft” writing.  You are free to decline and just listen to other people’s writing.
  • Deeply Listen: We share our thoughts by telling each other what we liked, what remained with us and what was strong about each piece of writing. There are no questions, no critiques and no challenges to what you write.


  1. Everyone’s writing is treated with equal respect and value.
  2. Writing is kept confidential and treated as fiction.
  3. Writers can refrain from reading their work aloud.
  4. Responses to just-written work reflect what is strong and successful.
  5. Responses and exercises support the development of literary craft.
  6. When Listening in an AWA workshop we enter the universe that the writer has created and leave our assumptions behind.  We listen without preconceived ideas about what the story should be about, how the poem should sound, or what we might do differently.

To find an AWA workshop,  go to the calendar here

About Joan Walters

Joan Walters is an AWA affiliate with a background in journalism & social work and experience mentoring young writers.

A writer since childhood, Joan sees AWA as a way to find equanimity in an off-balance world. She believes writing from the soul without fear of criticism is a path to creative fulfilment.

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More than 30 years at major news organizations, including long-time training editor for young writers. Master’s degree from the Medill School, Northwestern University.

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Art Blogger

Credentialed writer on the visual arts for more than a decade, posting since 2011 on Canadian Art Junkie, with 20,000 followers.

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AWA Affiliate

Formally trained to run workshops in the AWA method. Building a workshop practice with non-profit groups and anyone writing to make themselves whole.

AWA changed my writing life.

I am a journalist. I wrote daily. But I also slogged away in personal journals for years without feeling I was writing  anything creative.

Then I joined an AWA group and started to get somewhere. More on the AWA Method here .

Check the AWA main site for workshops you would be interested in attending.

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