Whether you are just curious about writing poems or stories, or are an experienced writer seeking serious critique, the Downtown Writers Center has programs for you. Each year, we offer over 70 workshops and courses for writers of all experience levels: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama, screenwriting, songwriting, and more. And if you're a YMCA of Central New York member, you can take a class for free each season! All courses are taught by professional writers who are ready lead you on your creative journey.
"They say writing is a solitary pursuit—and yet I shudder to imagine attempting it without the essential support of my friends and mentors at the DWC. It is there that I find the necessary criticism to do it better and the generous encouragement to do it again."
-- Michael Petrosillo, DWC PRO fiction student and published fiction author
"When I joined the Y several years ago, I was happy to discover all of the other activities available besides a workout, like walking clubs, field trips, and picnics. Then a friend suggested taking classes at the DWC. At the beginning I took fiction classes, and now I take poetry classes. I have taken a class every session since I started. It has been a wonderful opportunity to make new friends, expand my interests, and broaden my writing skills. One of the best parts is there is no pressure. If you want to publish, you will receive more support than you can possibly imagine from others who are already published. Or you can take the classes for fun. Every instructor has been amazing, and I've learned different things from each of them."
-- Debbie Panebianco
"At the beginning every time we workshopped my work, after hearing all those beautiful pieces, I wished the ground would swallow me up. Instead, I decided to buckle up, and take the embarrassment as an integral part of the learning process. Boy was it worth it. I still feel I need to catch up with my language skills. Nevertheless, I still manage, somehow, to keep myself in the game, coming up with new ideas, and enjoying every minute of it!"
-- Benedetta Pallante
"Being part of the DWC community has changed my life. It has provided me a purpose for each day. Writing turned out to be a blessing for me. Without it I would be lost."
-- Morris Torres
"I have been a student since 2002 and have found every instructor I've encountered to be knowledgeable, professional, and motivating. I moved to Seattle in 2018 and thought I had to leave the Center behind. The silver lining amid all the COVID concerns is the shift to offer DWC courses online. What a gift. I can now take classes remotely and enjoy this wonderful community again. Whether you are a writer of fiction, poetry, or non-fiction this is the place to hone your skills."
-- Susan Burgess