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Writing Alone and with Others

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  603 ratings  ·  67 reviews
For more than a quarter of a century, Pat Schneider has helped writers find and liberate their true voices. She has taught all kinds--the award winning, the struggling, and those who have been silenced by poverty and hardship. Her innovative methods have worked in classrooms from elementary to graduate level, in jail cells and public housing projects, in convents and semin ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published August 28th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2003)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Jul 08, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, writers, workshop leaders
This book is organized according to its title: the first half describes methods to help and encourage the writer in his/her solitary practice, and the second half describes Schneider's method for working with writers in groups. Her belief is that a "writer is someone who writes," and the focus of this book is really on prodding and guiding her readers to do what they have to do to keep writing. Although her sympathetic tone sometimes made me cringe (words like safety and healing abound), Schneid ...more
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pat Schneider's WRITING ALONE AND WITH OTHERS is familiar fare to warriors of the "How to Write" wars. Part One "The Writer Alone" is sound and helps buck you up, so to speak. I page-by-paged my way through. Part Two "Writing with Others" is geared more to participants or moderators of workshops (such as Pat Schneider herself). In this section I found myself skipping pages. Does not apply. Does not apply. Etc.

The last part is "additional exercises" to supplement the many provided throughout the
Jane Penland Hoover
If you love writing in a group or alone this is a book for you. I studied with the author in her home and have been leading writing groups ever since. Engaging and encouraging of both the person and a writing life.
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Jun 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym) by: Christina F.
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
This book is most useful for writers hoping to lead a workshop, particularly with underserved communities.

For writers writing alone -- the exercises are helpful, but they're embedded in a lot of description and are demonstrated with examples done by beginners. This is not a book for experienced writers to flip through in search of a quickie writing prompt.

Rather, it's a book that's intended for total beginners and experts looking to teach total beginners.

That being said, as a non-beginner, I g
A.J. Bauers
This book is getting five stars based solely on the amount of times I had to stop reading this book so I could write (6 times). And I don't mean write for my own works in progress or homework, I mean write for the pure pleasure of it.

Pat Schneider made me start keeping a journal again (let's hope it lasts this time) and she also made me write a few poems and songs which I have always sworn I am incapable of. True, I still don't feel adequate in this area (and you can be sure I don't want people
♥ Ibrahim ♥
No, five stars are not enough for such a book! What can I say! This woman is real angel, in her spirit, in her humility, in her caring heart, in her willingness to feel the pain of the beginning writer and those who already write and need some motivation here and there… I am speechless when it comes to giving such impressive works like that their due credit while I disagree with her in some ways on some core issues but none of this matters as she compels you to love her to pieces and be grateful ...more
Pickle Farmer
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. I read it in March after getting back from March. It brought tears to my eyes because its advice was so kind and nurturing and encouraging. Definitely one of my favorite self-help books of all time.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Currently re-reading this excellent book in preparation for my writers retreat this weekend. Pat Schneider is the lonely writer's voice of comfort and reason. ...more
Freya Abbas
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Normally I stay away from books like this, but this was incredibly helpful and had a wonderful philosophy: everyone is a writer. Some parts were old-fashioned/out of date (technology and the way things work now just aren't the same anymore) and some parts could've been more concise. But the message is still relevant. The guiding principles in this book will help anyone who writes, regardless of experience or skill level and regardless of if you write alone or in a workshop. ...more
Brian Kelley
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pawlp-library
I spent the better part of two years researching a plan for the development of our current creative writing course and the past two years teaching it and adjusting it according to the needs of our students. In that time I have picked up many articles and books on writing. I've found that many books address the craft from the perspective of writers trying to publish. I've come across few which tackle the specific needs of an instructor and the best of that small selection is Pat Schneider's Writi ...more
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this book.

Although I agree with other reviewers that it is at best a guide to writers who want to learn how to be gentle, professional workshop leaders of writing groups, I feel all writers who read other authors writings in workshops would benefit from her wise experience. I have had the benefit of her guidance in many workshops without having known the origin of the culture of manners that I experienced. I wish that her ideas had already influenced the teaching of creative writing in hi
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After today, I will no longer give a star rating for a book - if it is possible to leave the rating blank. It has made me uncomfortable from the start. I certainly am not qualified as a critic. Read this book and you will know why I have chosen to refrain from giving stars in the future.
Some powerful quotes about "writing with others":
"Each writer [in a workshop or writing group] is finding his or her way to voice. It cannot be coerced, and it cannot be given form or shape by anyone else."
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Anyone who's been beaten down by writing workshops, or who is thinking of starting his/her own writing workshop, must pick up this book immediately. Schneider's method and philosophy has almost completely changed the way I think about writing--no small feat, since I've been thinking about writing my entire life. I'm sure her overwhelming positivity will wear off in a few days, but even knowing there IS a way to improve writing without being critical is fairly revolutionary. Workshops in MFA prog ...more
Mary Ann
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much. I first heard of Pat Schneider and the Amherst Writers & Artists method several years ago from reading Cary Tennis's advice column, Since You Asked. I checked it out of the library because I've just started writing my first book and thought it might help. I love that Pat starts right at the beginning with fear: the writer's fear, the fears that sit there in our path, blocking the way. Yay, Pat! I immediately ordered my own copy of the book and I'm almost finis ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found this book inspiring and practical. She explains many dilemmas and fears that many writers encounter as they start writing again or if they already are writing, but are have a bought of writer's block. Her real life examples, writing samples, and writing exercises helped me open up my creative mind. Now when I sit down to write, I feel more relaxed and my ideas feel more natural and easy flowing. I recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their writing and creativity. It teaches y ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on how to create a writing practice either on your own or in a group. Packed with prompts, ideas, helpful tips, hints, and stories about the joy and difficulties of writing.

Pat Schneider starts the book with all the blocks writers face, from the inner critic to not knowing what to write about.

The next part of the book, Schneider brings in the Amherst Writers and Artists Workshop method--a popular way to get started and keep writing.

Schneider includes sections on fiction and p
Ronna Jevne & Harold Martin
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In my early years of facilitating therapeutic writing, I found Pat Schneider's work inspiring. Driven by inclusive values, she demonstrates the power of writing for us all. Her work was the foundation of my approach to facilitating writing with female inmates. Practical, structured, and compassionate suggestions are plentiful throughout the book. The attention to ethics that I find in her writing and in advice for guiding writing is often not addressed in other writing books. Her commitment to w ...more
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, teachers, activists
Shelves: writing
Used this book in a course I teach on peer education theory and practice. Schneider's assertion that anyone can write made some students uncomfortable. They missed the point that a writer must develop the ability; Schneider's goal is to help writers get out of their own way.

A companion DVD (same title) is available that includes interviews and some mini-documentaries about Schneider's work with a writing group in MA; the members are women who live in low-income housing.
Starla King
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Memoir writers, Writing workshop leaders
If you're thinking of writing memoir, I highly recommend you take the time to read this book COVER TO COVER. Pat addresses important memoir writing issues (for example, writing about others, how much to share and when and why, etc), shares the guidelines of the AWA method of writers workshops, and tells many relevant stories from her own experience.

I use this book a lot with my writing coaching clients.
Michael Holland
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
For writers who want help in either teaching in the A.W.A. method, or for writers who can use help when they have writer's block, overcoming fear, and developing lasting work, this informative book gives detailed information of how to overcome these obstacles. I cannot say enough about Pat Schneider, and this is a must for writers. ...more
This was one of the very first books I read about writing. Back when I didn't know enough to appreciate it. I reread it in 2008 and now it's one of my favorite sources for teaching and for writing exercises. ...more
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although I'm not actually finished with this book, I'm through about 1/2 of it and can give it four stars without hesitation. It will definitely be one of those books I pick up again and again. A great writing resource and companion. ...more
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is aimed at the beginning writer, but might be inspirational for anyone feeling blocked or stuck in a rut. It left me feeling extremely inspired and with my confidence bolstered, and gave me a long list of other books to read.
Lina Anachebe
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the fact that shes interested in creating impact and empowering the less privileged through her writing workshop. Very good and inspiring book especially for those looking to write or have a writing workshop. Pat breaks it down and even provides exercises to help the reader.
K Rae
I love this book. Love it. I will just quote what is on the inside jacket: "Schneider's innovative teaching method will refresh the experienced writer and encourage the beginner. Her book is the essential owner's manual for the writer's voice." ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
An absolutely indispensable guide for leading writing workshops, and also for keeping one's own writing spirit alive through whatever life brings. ...more
Meg Harris
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers and artists.
This is a wonderful gentle and validating book. Great teaching methods. Release the muse!
Rachel Noble
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
my new favorite place to find inspiration
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Amazing woman, amazing book. If you think you can not write read this book and you will know you can.
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a must have for writers and writing teachers. Schneider is approachable and wonderful. I'd love her to be my neighbor and friend. It's a great book. You're in good hands here. ...more
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(Please note that I do not use Goodreads actively: my blog posts here are updated automatically from my website. If you would like to get in touch with me, please visit Thank you.)

I am a writer of poetry, plays, libretti and non-fiction, and I am the founder of Amherst Writers and Artists. For thirty-four years I have taught writing in Massachusetts and around the world.

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