Writer's Block: The Cognitive Dimension
Writer's block is more than a mere matter of discomfort and missed dead-lines; sustained experiences of writer's block may influence academic success ... Show synopsis Writer's block is more than a mere matter of discomfort and missed dead-lines; sustained experiences of writer's block may influence academic success and career choices. Writers in the business world, profes-sional 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 instruc-tion and tutorial programs. Rose defines writer's block as "an in-ability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than a lack of skill or com-mitment," which is measured by "pas-sage 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 de-velops 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 delin-eates many cognitive errors that cause blocking, such as inflexible rules or con-flicting planning strategies. He also dis-cusses 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.