Trauma Writing

I spent the day reading and rereading the text that I was supposed to be working on. I was supposed to be figuring out ways to move the text along. To make it more clear and more powerful. But I was not able to think of anything. Not a single original thought. Anything that I did think of was already written by someone else. It was really scary.

At every moment, I moved back and forth between almost crying and hopeful reading. What if I never have another original idea ever again? Trauma writing is what I did today. Which is to say that I really did no writing at all. I read a few paragraphs and found a smile creeping over my face as I could almost feel an idea heading toward my fingertips and then… nothing.

Give yourself a 30 minute break. A snack and some dish washing. The dish washing was way more fun than the writing. I found myself thinking about cooking something with several dishes and pots so that I could spend more minutes washing dishes. Today’s work looked like nothing because there was nothing to measure, nothing to count. Maybe that does mean that I did no work.

Oooooh. Here are some questions. I can answer some questions. How hard could that be? Every question, I was not sure about the answer. What if I am never sure of an answer again? This trauma writing day was really the perfect follow up to a trauma teaching day yesterday. I am so tired of being so tired. Not a single part of me feels creative.

Read the same paragraph 300 times in a row. I do not understand a single sentence. Wait. I think I wrote this sentence. It looks like other people have understood it because no one has put any comments in the margin. Now I am convinced that I am brilliant because my paragraph is without comment.

Is everyone sure that they do not have other things that need cleaning? Or organizing? What if I am not needed in this work anymore? Where are all my words? My ideas? Trauma writing has been traumatizing today.

Time to sleep. Maybe that is where my creativity is hiding. Or, I am sure there are more dishes to do by now.

5 thoughts on “Trauma Writing

  1. Kathleen Britto

    “What if I am not needed in this work anymore?” Such a searing question. I’ve been trying to give myself some grace for not being at the top of my game during this pandemic, but it’s not easy.

  2. dmsherriff

    Wowzer – I felt like was locked in an empty room reading this. An empty room with nothing – I mean nothing – I imagine that your trauma writing felt like nothingness was taking hold. This is the reality of living like a writer. You will reunite with your creativity and originality, I believe in you!


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