Below are some things to consider if you plan to use writing to help you work through a traumatic experience.
Write twenty (20) minutes a day over a period of four days. Do this periodically. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed.
Write in a private, safe, comfortable environment.
Write about issues you are currently living with, something you’re thinking or dreaming about constantly, a trauma you’ve never disclosed or discussed or resolved.
Write about joys and pleasures too.
Write about what happened. Write, too, about feelings about what happened. What do you feel? Why do you feel this way? Link events with feelings.
Try to write an extremely detailed, organized, coherent, vivid, emotionally compelling narrative. Don’t worry about correctness, about grammar or punctuation.
Beneficial effects will occur even if no one reads your writing. If you choose to keep your writing and not discard it, you must safeguard it.
Expect, initially, that in writing in this way you will have complex and appropriately difficult feelings. Make sure you get support if you need it.
Things not to do when writing:
Don’t use writing as a substitute for taking action.
Don’t become overly intellectual.
Don’t use writing as a way of complaining. Use it, instead, to discover how and why you feel as you do. Simply complaining or venting will probably make you feel worse.
Don’t use your writing to become overly self-absorbed. Over-analysing everything is counterproductive.
Don’t use writing as a substitute for therapy or medical care.
Louise de Salvo 1999