About Voice & Vessel

Writing Alone & With Others, by Pat Schneider, founder of Amherst Writers & Artists

A writing studio based in Grand Rapids.
Supporting creative spirits in Michigan and online. An affiliate of the Amherst Writers & Artists Method.

Writing can take so many shapes. It can be an act of reflection, imagination, and radical change. Or as Joan Didion said, "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means."

Whatever shape it takes, I believe the act and art of writing belongs to everyone. Creativity is a birthright. Your voice is worthy. The path into the creative life looks different for all of us. Some of us are born ready and able to begin. Some of us feel pulled to the page, but an unsupportive person or inner critic knocks us back. Some of us come into our voice only after we face other crossroads or closed doors. Whatever the shape of your path, you are welcomed here.

If you have curiosity and openness, you can write... and I believe it's too powerful an invitation to pass up. Writing gives our voice the chance to become a vessel. It can carry us into memories, dreams, and forgotten parts of our imagination. Our voice can bring us deeper inward, toward the roots of our stories. It can also lead us out, toward new ways of seeing the world.

Amherst Writers & Artists Method

"Your task as a writer is to sound more and more like yourself."

Pat Schneider
Founder, Amherst Writers & Artists

Voice & Vessel is a guide as you claim writing for yourself. My workshops are rooted in the Amherst Writers & Artists Method. In this method, we work toward wholehearted writing. No looking over our shoulder at our critics. No asking for permission to use our voice. We believe that:

  • If you strip away the mythology of what a writer is, a writer is simply someone who writes. When the circle of writers gathers at Voice & Vessel, we gather as equals. All backgrounds and experience levels are supported generously, and we focus on the practice of writing rather than the idea of being a writer.

  • Your voice is yours, and it is already with you in some form. The adventure of uncovering it could be a whole life's work (and has been for many writers). No qualifications or critics get to decide whether a voice is valid.

Voice & Vessel's workshops and one-on-one coaching are open to people from all walks of life. If you're new to writing, this is a chance to try something new. And if you're already a devoted writer, the same is true! Together, we'll take on fresh writing prompts, different forms of writing, and more. We'll say yes to the empty page, and in the process, we'll become artists and writers.

Emily Stoddard, Founder of Voice & Vessel


I'm Emily Stoddard, a writer, workshop leader, and writing coach. As a certified leader and affiliate of the Amherst Writers & Artists Method, it's an honor to hold a space for people of all backgrounds to connect with their voice. Voice & Vessel is based in Michigan, and I support creative folks wherever the muse calls. My writing has appeared or is forthcoming in New Poetry from the Midwest, Tinderbox Poetry JournalAn Alphabet of EmbersCold Mountain ReviewWatershed ReviewHermeneutic ChaosMenacing Hedge, and elsewhere. 

Learn more about my background and how I came to start Voice & Vessel.