Writer's Block: The Cognitive Dimension

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Overview

Writer’s block is more than a mere matter of discomfort and missed dead­lines; sustained experiences of writer’s block may influence academic success and career choices. Writers in the business world, profes­sional writers, and students all have known this most common and least studied problem with the composing process.  Mike 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 productive involvement in the writing task.” He applies insights 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 writers experiencing both high and low degrees of blocking; through stimulated recall he examines the composing processes of these writers; and he proposes a cognitive conceptualization of writer’s block and of the composing process.

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

The reissue of this classic study of writer’s block includes a new preface by the author that advocates more mixed-methods research in rhetoric and composition, details how he conducted his writer’s block study, and discusses how his approach to a study like this would be different if conducted today.

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809329236
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 8/30/2009
  • Series: Studies in Writing and Rhetoric Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Rose is on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and is the author of Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America,  The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker, and An Open Language: Selected Writing on Literacy, Learning, and Opportunity.

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