Writer's block: the cognitive dimension

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Southern Illinois University Press, 1984 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 132 pages
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“You don’t know what it is,” wrote Flau­bert, “to stay a whole day with your head in your hands trying to squeeze your un­fortunate brain so as to find a word.”

 

Writer’s block is more than a mere matter of discomfort and missed dead­lines; sustained experiences of writer’s block may influence career choices. Writers in the business world, profes­sional writers, and students all have known this most common and least studied dysfunction of the composition process. Rose, however, sees it as a limitable problem that can be precisely analyzed and remedied through instruc­tion and tutorial programs.”

 

Rose defines writer’s block as “an in­ability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than a lack of skill or com­mitment,” which is measured by “pas­sage of time with limited functional/ productive involvement in the writing task.” He applies the information pro­cessing models of cognitive psychology to reveal dimensions of the problem never before examined.

 

In his three-faceted approach, Rose de­velops and administers a questionnaire to identify blockers and nonblockers; through simulated recall, he selects and examines writers experiencing both high and low degrees of blocking; and he proposes a cognitive conceptualization of writer’s block and of the composition process.

 

In drawing up his model, Rose delin­eates many cognitive errors that cause blocking, such as inflexible or con­flicting planning strategies. He also dis­cusses the practice and strategies that promote effective composition.

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Contents

Introduction
1
Questionnaire and StimulatedRecall
18
Case Studies of Two Students
44
Copyright

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About the author (1984)

Mike Rose is a member of the English Department at UCLA.

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