Regularly Offered Courses

I teach the following classes through the Center for Creative Writing year-round:

Writing through Trauma to Truth, Parts 1&2

Writing about trauma is often an attempt to make sense and meaning; to unravel what can’t easily be felt or said; to stitch torn cloth together again with well-crafted words that make, from struggle, something good and beautiful and true – for yourself and for future readers. Read the full course description.

Writing the Wave, Parts 1-4

Writing the Wave is an organic approach to writing that will jump-start your creative process and free the writer inside you—even if you’re just starting or have been struggling for years. Working with both your creative and analytical mind through a series of imagination-boosting techniques, the course has helped thousands of aspiring writers get to the page and thrive there. Read the full course description.

Writing Your Web Presence

You know the hows and whys of starting a blog. Now you need to generate some quality content. On a blog, you can write about anything you want as long as you have a strong “voice.” You can blog on one topic or many, but a strong voice allows you to wander with your creativity while staying in “niche.” Read the full course description.

Independent Study Options

I periodically accept independent students for Generative Writing and Private Writing Guidance.

Generative Writing

Generative writing sessions are designed to get you writing. Enjoy the benefits of weekly deadlines and regular, in-depth feedback from your teacher as you develop new or existing projects. These sessions follow the same format, pricing (includes a free consultation), and schedule as our regular six-week courses, but without formal assignments. Read the full description.

Private Writing Guidance

Whether you want to polish or publish your writing, the Center offers expert, one-on-one guidance for the next stage of the process such as first reader, copy editor, manuscript midwife or content editor. Read the full description.

All courses run for six weeks and utilize the Wet Ink platform. Please consult the 2024 session dates below:

  • Jan. 9-Feb. 22 
  • Feb. 27-April 11 *now enrolling*
  • April 16-May 30
  • June 4-July 18
  • July 23-Sept. 5
  • Sept. 10-Oct. 24
  • Oct. 29-Dec. 12

Sliding Scale Options

I recognize that not everyone is able to access the classes I teach through various institutions. For that reason, in addition to these regularly scheduled courses, I take 2-3 private students per month for courses priced on a sliding scale of $75-125. These sessions typically last 4 weeks and are scheduled with me via email. Generally, I reserve these spaces for queer, BIPOC or differently-abled individuals, and includes anyone on a fixed income. Course goals are curated to client need. Coursework is assigned and completed through email exchange. However, video conferencing is an option.

Payment can be made through Paypal, Venmo, CashApp or Zelle. Email me using the form on my Contact Page to set up one of these sessions.

Retreats & Workshops

I generally teach single-session workshops or weekend retreats on a quarterly schedule.

Developing Your Memoir

In this generative writing course, we will come together to discuss different aspects of memoir and practice writing through prompts and exercises. A  microsite with the course syllabus will be provided with readings and themes for each week so that writers can come to class prepared to engage in discussion. Writers will be strongly encouraged to share their own work as well as offer feedback to their peers.

This course is offered on a sliding scale of $75-$150 and will run with a minimum of 3 registrants. The maximum capacity for this course is 10. Contact shawna.ayoub@gmail.com on or before March 7 to register.

  • In-person
  • 5 weeks: 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18
  • Thursdays, 1:30-3PM
  • Cost: $75-150 (pay what you can)

Location: This course is hosted by The Trees, a beautiful retreat acreage in Durham. The address is 1701 Pleasant Green Road, Durham NC – located between Cole Mill Road and St Mary’s Road. Look for the gravel driveway with a black mailbox with a flag on it and the numbers 1701. Drive through the gate down the long gravel driveway to park at the house.


Writing Great Essays

In this Zoom workshop, we will dive into the tenets of what makes a great essay, troubleshoot writer’s block, and work on enhancing our essays at the sentence level. Our aim will be to generate a framework for developing or already-written essays in order to better understand our own goals for the finished product. Whether you are seeking information about essay writing or trying to heighten your already-written essay, this workshop is for you. 

Writers will take home a packet of writing examples  as well as prompts, and can contact Shawna for written feedback within two weeks of this workshop.

  • March 23rd,  2:00-4:00 PM via Zoom
  • Cost: $75, $100
  • Minimum Students: 3
  • Maximum Students: 10

Register here.

Discovering Your Memoir

This is a dynamic five-week writing course designed to help participants explore the rich tapestry of their lives and discover the unique stories waiting to be told. Through a series of engaging exercises and discussions, students will uncover their hidden memories, embrace their vulnerability and develop a deeper connection with their personal narratives.

Students will be given in-class writing assignments with the expectation that they will further develop their work between classes and bring it to the next class for discussion. At-home writing development should take about 20 minutes.

  • Mondays, April 29-June 3 (no class May 27)
  • 11:00 AM- 12:30 PM
  • In-Person at JRC, 1933 West Cornwallis Road, Durham, NC 27705

Price and registration link TBD

Writing True & Difficult Stories

This five-week course delves into the transformative power of expressive writing, with a specific emphasis on crafting true and difficult stories. Participants will explore how expressive writing serves as a therapeutic outlet for release and recovery. Through engaging readings, interactive discussions and hands-on writing exercises, students will develop the skills needed to articulate and navigate their own personal and challenging stories. Students will be encouraged to actively participate in class discussions and seek feedback on their writing throughout the course.

Students will be given in-class writing assignments with the expectation that they will further develop their work between classes and bring it to the next class for discussion. At-home writing development should take about 20 minutes.

  • Mondays, Apr 29-Jun 3 (no class May 27)
  • 9:00 AM- 10:30 AM
  • In-Person at JRC, 1933 West Cornwallis Road, Durham, NC 27705.

Price and registration link TBD

Writing the Body

It’s a well-researched fact that we store our emotional experiences in our physical bodies. On anniversaries of loss, for example, it is common to feel body pain, heaviness, or fatigue. In this Zoom workshop, we will practice feeling into our body stories safely in order to capture them in words. As a group, we will learn about how the body stores memory, and why, and take home practices for listening to the stories our bodies want to tell us.  While this course is appropriate for writers at every level and of every genre, it can also be taken to build off “Writing Great Essays,” offered March 30th.
Writers will take home a packet of writing examples as well as prompts, and can contact Shawna for written feedback within two weeks of this workshop.

  • April 28th, 2:00-4:00 PM via Zoom
  • Cost: $75, $100
  • Minimum Students: 3
  • Maximum Students: 10

Registration link upcoming.

Collaboration & Hosting

I am open to scheduling collaborative workshops with queer, BIPOC, and differently-abled individuals. If this is you, please reach out to me via the form on my Contact Page. I’d love to hear more about what you think we can do together.

Likewise, I would love to hear from you if you know of a place you would love to see my courses offered.

In short, if you’d like to work with me, reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you!