Writer's Block

Why is it whenever we attempt to sit down and write, this free-flowing process is inhibited at the times they count most? Do we not possess the proper discipline necessary to write? Have our previous experiences with writing given us a negative attitude? Here are some reasons why writer's block as mentioned in Mike Rose's Writer's Block: A Cognitive Dimension.

1. Writers establish rules by which they guide their composing processes as rigid, inappropriately invoked, or incorrect. For example, "avoid the passive voice" and "vary sentence length" serve only as barriers when formulating early drafts.

2. Writers possess misleading assumptions about the way writing occurs. Stereotypes begin to develop negating the varied composing processes. A block occurs naturally when all witing is expected to be painless and inspired work. Students will quickly find this is not the case.

3. Writers edit too early in the composing process. This indicates a writer's attempt to "tidy up" his words when he should be rethinking his words.Such a strategy will prove highly unproductive during early drafts due to the fact that writers should be thinking freely to explore other avenues.

4. Writer's fail to plan accordingly for discourse strategies or continually rely on inflexible strategies. This results in dead ends for a writer. With the ECRSB Portfolio, one needs to have a firm understanding of the competencies to grasp the goal of the narrative format.

Frank Smith, in his book Writing and the Writer, argues there are two main types of blocks for writers.

Procedural Blocks result when writers do not know what to write next. Writers are able to formulate thoughts on a global and focal level, yet the intermediate level leaves them unable to identify the direction of the current paragraph. This can be attributed to packing too much information into a sentence or digressions in attempts to formulate developing ideas. To help students with this type of block, have students write ideas down on paper as opposed to sifting through and reorganizing them in their heads. With this strategy, alternatives can be re-evaluated in different contexts and orders. If problems still persist, encourage the student to take a break to relieve the brain from the pressure they have put it under. Give it time.

Psychological Blocks appear when the writer cannot bring themselves to the point of allowing the words to appear on the paper. Given the magnitude of the ECRSB Portfolio, this will probably be the most common type of writer's block witnessed by consultants. Students will also experience this block when they feel their portfolio, coupled with their achievements, does not measure up to a perceived standard. Consultants should inform students that each is his own person, unique in intricate and inimate ways. It should be the student's responsibitly for their ECRSB Portfolio to convey this to their audience.

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