8 Ways to Shift Your Writing

A Writer is Someone Who Writes.

;lksafjl;sdkfjlsdfjkl; — Pat Schneider, Founder: Amherst Writers & Artists


That’s all there is to it.  If you “just journal,” you’re a writer. If you write letters or notes or post cards – you’re a writer.  And if you find that life with writing in it is somehow better than life without writing in it…you’re a writer.

The only question is how to tap and sustain this gift – because that’s what it is. So here are 8 ways to shift your writing from short notes on scraps of paper to an ongoing and vibrant practice:


1. Schedule an hour and a half a week to meet up with a friend and write together.

2. Check your local library and book stores: many offer opportunities to write in structured or unstructured groups.

3. Participate in online networks.  Face Book hosts groups that provide support and challenges for writers (“100 words a day for the month of August,” for example).

4, 5, & 6.   Join an ongoing workshop, or attend a daylong – or week long – retreat.  This gives you the additional support of a teacher or mentor who can help you develop your own path.

Ask the leader if you can visit before joining; it’s important to find a good match for your writing and learning style. Click here to find AWA writing workshops and retreats in your area.

7. Combine writing with travel. Both involve a leap of faith, both lead to unplanned destinations – and both deepen and expand your world.

Travel can mean visiting another country; it can just as easily mean sitting down in a park two miles away…or at that tea and muffin place you just never have time to visit.

It’s the “new-ness” factor:  any place that provides a different surrounding opens new doors and tantalizes the imagination.

8. Retreat Yourself: set up a personal retreat.  There’s a Do-It-Yourself Retreat Kit here…and if you live in the Pioneer Valley, you can visit the same sites we’ve used for the summer retreats – directions here.

“If you say what’s on your mind in the language that comes to you from your parents and your street and friends, you’ll probably say something beautiful.

Grace Paley, writer and political activist



  1. […] of settings and supports for writers – local, regional, and online.  For starters, here are 8 ways to shift your writing from short notes on pieces of scrap paper to an ongoing and vibrant […]

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