Abigail is a treasure—a warm, wise, engaging teacher whose freewriting techniques work for anyone writing anything. I’ve used her approach to generate new material; I’ve used it when I’m trying to get into the heart of a character. —Kim Church, author of Byrd
The first writing workshop I ever attended was led by Abigail DeWitt. This was one of the luckiest things that has ever happened to me, as a writer. She approached our work with candor, kindness, and respect.
It was a short class – a couple of hours in the morning, a lunch break, and a couple of hours in the afternoon – but it set me off in the right direction. I still remember the writing exercises she gave us, and continue to use them in my daily practice of writing. Everything I’ve written since then, has benefited from that short class.
Abigail’s embodiment of the idea that “nothing human is foreign to me” gave me the courage to write my memoir. Every time I felt scared or insecure, she was rock solid and continued to encourage me without missing a beat. I knew that nothing I could write would shock her or scare her away; at the same time, I never felt the impulse to impress her by bragging about my life. She helped me pay attention to the sensory details that would unlock memory, and the exercises she gave us—both in her traditional classes and in her writing to heal classes– have made me not just a better writer, but a better mother, friend, wife, and physician—Kelly Rothe, DO, Board Certified in Family Practice, Hospice and Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine
Abigail DeWitt’s teaching is infused with pure intention. This results in students who become quickly poised to delve deep, to write from a place of raw authenticity, and to share with daring dignity. Remarkable writing happens in such an intentional environment, and Abigail offers graceful support to her students each step along the way. —Tony Tallent (Read Tony’s story, “Provisions,” here.)
Abigail DeWitt fosters a vibrant writing community in her classes. In each group, Abigail creates a sense of trust while teaching craft, applicable to writers at all stages of development. Her focus on writing every day in order to hone skill while finding voice and story finds its kernel in her attention to providing stimulating prompts in class with close response to the writer’s journey. Abigail has been an important facet in my journey as a writer.–Sue Weaver Dunlap, author of Knead and The Story Tender
The period I spent working with Abigail and the writing group that she led in Boston in the early 1990s was both enormously beneficial and great fun. More than anything else it was this experience that convinced me that I had no other choice than to be a writer.
We’d begin each class with a ‘free write’ which consisted of writing for fifteen minutes without ever lifting one’s pencil from the page beginning with a topic sentence provided by Abigail. Nearly twenty-five years later I still look back with awe on the thrillingly intimate glimpses into our lives that we all shared. It was nearly a miracle that Abigail got us to do it! I now believe that learning to free write was one of the most important things that I’ve ever learned as a writer.
Also, I believe that the group practice of always beginning the critique of each other’s work with several positive comments was tremendously useful and important. It was in learning to be compassionate towards others, Abigail taught, that one learned to be compassionate toward oneself. Furthermore, this was essential if one was to become one’s own editor, and ultimately, everyone was his or her own best editor. This was a profound lesson.
The use of sensory detail in my writing is one critical lesson that Abigail imparted and that I have yet to fully internalize, though I must report that I am feeling a small sharp pain in the middle of my chest as I write this.–Jim Schwartz, author of In Pursuit Of The Gene