Kitchen Table Writers Workshops
in Bethel, CT
are based on the
Method (AWA). These creative writing
workshops aren't your average
workshop. We'll take a moment and
breathe together before we begin.
I will let you know that you can write
nothing wrong in this workshop. I will share something that I hope will spark your imagination and then I will invite you to write anything you want - a story, a list, a poem, a song, a letter, a dream, a scene, a wish. We'll write together around a table or via Zoom. Me too. I'll take the same risks you do. We will all promise to keep the stories we hear confidential and we will also treat everything we hear as fiction. You'll share your just-written work aloud - if and when you are ready - and the only feedback you'll receive will be specifics about what is strong and already working in your writing.
Well, what the heck's the point if nobody's going to tell me what I'm doing wrong?
We don't criticize or even question newly-written material in our workshops because it's too fresh. You just wrote it! You're still telling the story to yourself. This is just-born, first-draft material here. You haven't had any chance to look it over or polish it. We'll tell you what's strong in what you just wrote and what stayed with us after you read it. This is important information. We're echoing your story back to you in affirming and often very clarifying ways. I'll point out very specific examples of writing craft in your work. You'll listen as I do the same with other's work. Then we'll write some more!
What are we going to write about each week?
Anything and everything. As workshop leader, I'll bring lots of prompts each week to spark your creativity. I'll bring objects, photographs, food. I'll read poetry, newspaper articles, obits. I'll ask you questions. I'll play music and other audio for you. And then I'll ask you to explore your memory or imagination and write. You'll write whatever you please: a poem, a story, a list, a letter, the scene you've been stuck on in your novel , a song. Just let 'er rip!
What if I want to write about something really serious?
That's fine. Write away. Nothing is off limits on the page here. One of the guidelines that makes AWA workshops a safe place to explore any topic is that we treat everything as fiction. Even when using the "I" narrator, we treat your writing as fiction. We'll never say, "God, that's so terrible that happened to you!" Never. And our rules of confidentiality prevent workshop members from asking you about the subject matter later.
But what if I don't want to read anything out loud?
That's completely okay. There's no pressure to read aloud. In fact, you don't have to read out loud during the whole workshop if you don't feel comfortable. But I hope you will. So much of the magic of these workshops comes in sharing our work and learning what others hear in it - so often it's things we've completely missed ourselves.
I'm not really a writer. I probably don't have enough writing experience to be in a writing workshop.
You are a writer.
Whether you write in a journal, type long emails to your best friend on another coast telling him all your troubles, swirl love notes on the steamed-up bathroom mirror to your sweetie or a have a novel in a drawer- you are a writer. A writer is someone who writes. Period.
Writers of all backgrounds, experience, no experience, abilities, disabilities, ages and genres are warmly welcomed into Kitchen Table Writers Workshops. All you need is a willingness to act as a positive workshop member and the desire to write.
I'm a really experienced writer. I'd probably be bored in this kind of workshop.
If the thought of writing furiously on and off in a room with a bunch of other writers doesn't appeal to you then this probably isn't for you. If the idea of listening to writing voices from different socio-economic backgrounds and experiences and getting instant feedback on your own writing sounds boring then this definitely isn't for you.
AWA is based on a very simple philosophy,
which Kitchen Table Writers follows:
Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
Everyone is born with creative genius.
Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writers original voice or artistic self-esteem.
A writer is someone who writes.
And these direct practices:
Everyone’s writing, including the leader’s, is treated with equal respect and value.
Writing is kept confidential and treated as fiction.
Writers can refrain from reading their work aloud.
Responses to just-written work reflect what is strong 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
Ifyou have questions, wish to sign up for a workshop or be put on a waiting list, email me at
"Jen's comments are always insightful, illuminating aspects of my writing that are strong and worth development."
- Workshop Participant
"I greatly appreciate what she has done for me as a writer; I've regained my confidence and will to write."