Resources for Writing through Trauma

Everyone experiences trauma differently. There is no way to predictive measure for when or how a person will become traumatized. One human’s stressor is another human’s thrill. Ultimately, we are in charge of our own narrative. It is not up to anyone else to determine whether or not trauma has touched us. We know by the aching, irritable, gone-and-back again hollow we cannot seem to fill with hope. We know by the hives, the lost hair, the nightmares, insomnia, dropped interests and seizing moments we live through daily. We know, because we experience the gamut of grief.

Writing, while not a replacement for therapeutic intervention, is an excellent tool for healing our trauma. On paper, we own our stories, fashion and refashion them in the manner that best captures personal truth. Through journaling, we can track our growth and regressions as well as discover the underlying themes of our pain. Fears can be taken to their extreme safely in fiction. If we choose to move outward, the personal essay is a way to educate the public. Regardless of method, the initial goal is the same: acceptance. This happened to me. 

If you are interested in exploring writing through trauma, my class in Bloomington, IN begins January 19. You can learn more and sign up here.

Some of the links below will be used in class. Others are resources for my readership. I hope they are useful to you. Please feel free to link to your own resources in the comments. I will be posting a second resource list in the future and would love to include a variety of expertise.

Helping Students Write about Trauma” and “Primer for Writing through Trauma” by Louise DeSalvo

On journaling, its benefits and potential drawbacks by Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

An exploration of the types of trauma writing as well as when and why you might be ready to explore each type or “phase” by Randi Kreger

On writing to relieve depression by Chris Woolston, M.S.

Scholarly articles on the study and effectiveness of trauma writing

On writing about others by Amy Jo Burns

Tips for how to write your toughest memories by Amy Jo Burns

On sharing graphic material vs. writing in the moment by Allison K. Williams

I hope these pieces support you as you lean into those difficult spaces.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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