Hummingwords Writing Workshops

Where Words Take Wing

Come explore, express, and expand yourself as a writer with the East Bay Hummingwords Writing Workshop.

Join a fun, supportive group for beginning and experienced writers to spark your creativity, develop your unique voice, and cultivate your powers of expression. You’ll receive prompts to inspire spontaneous writing, you’ll play with words in whatever genre you choose, you’ll share your work, and feedback will celebrate your strengths as a writer.

The Amherst Writers’ and Artists’ (AWA) Method is guaranteed to dissolve writer’s block and stimulate your ability to generate fresh work. You’ll be delighted by the powerful writing you create!

What is the Amherst Writers and Artists Approach?

The AWA Method, as created by Pat Schneider, is founded on five essential affirmations:

Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
Everyone is born with creative genius.
Writing belongs to all people.
Teaching can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or self-esteem.
A writer is someone who writes.

In AWA workshops, we assume everything is fiction. We say “the narrator” and “the character” rather than “you” when giving feedback to create emotional safety and focus on the writing rather than the writer.

AWA workshops are generative classes; instead of critiquing writing brought in from the outside, we generate fresh new writing in response to prompts designed to jolt us into spontaneous creative expression.

In each session, we receive two prompts and have approximately 25 minutes per prompt to write wherever that prompt leads us. We then share our new writing and receive feedback from other group members focusing on:

what we like,
what is strong, and
what stays with us about the piece.

We avoid criticism, suggestions, questions, anecdotes, and references to other works because this is fresh, unedited writing that deserves to be treated supportively. As writers receive feedback about their strengths, they build on their gifts, develop their unique writing voice, and evolve rapidly into ever more skillful writers without becoming paralyzed or demotivated by negative critique.

Each six-week session, I offer to meet one-on-one with any interested group members to discuss their writing separately over tea. Participants also have the opportunity to submit manuscripts for group review and detailed critique once every session.

What is My Background with Amherst Writers and Artists?

I am an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone and With Others, by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press. In addition to leading adult writing groups, I have been following the AWA method for my own writing for the last four years. I have also used the AWA method to lead writing workshops for teenage girls under the auspices of the Soroptimists Club.

To learn more about the AWA method, visit

To read samples of work created in the Hummingwords Writing Workshops, click here.