Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block by M. Rose Essay
The article “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block” explores the causes and treatment of writer’s block. Writer’s block is one of the challenges that students experience. It can be defined as a frustrating and self-defeating inability to come up with the correct phrase, word, or sentence to initiate the flow of words again when a dead-end is reached during writing. Its causes are unclear.
However, it has been attributed to emotional causes such as anxiety, insecurity, and the fear of evaluation. Students experience writer’s block as they prepare their projects, do assignments, and write exams. The resultant grades and papers fail to reflect their true potential. Writer’s block is a problem-solving process that can be overcome by applying flexible rules and plans.
A study of 10 students conducted to evaluate the relationship between their writing processes and writer’s block revealed that the students who experienced writer’s block (blockers) were applying rigid rules and inflexible plans. The rigid rules and inflexible plans impeded the composting process. The five students who did not experience writer’s block (non-blockers) utilized flexible writing rules and plans that enhanced the composting process.
In that regard, their plans were more functional and easily manipulated using information from the outside. The interviews conducted revealed that composing is a complex process that involves the solving of problems. Moreover, cognitive psychology’s problem-solving framework can be sued to explain why people experience disruptions during the composting process. Successful problem-solving begins with the proper presentation of a problem in a manner that enhances the process. In many cases, information gaps in the manner in which the problem is presented determine the problem-solving behavior.
The next step is processing, which involves a deeper understanding and an assessment of potential solutions to the problem. The process ends with a solution period that involves the generation of an answer to the problem. Individuals apply rules and plans in the composing process, and the occurrence of writer’s block depends on how they apply the rules and plans.
In many instances, students experience writer’s block because of their strict adherence to rules of writing taught in class or read from textbooks. For example, students are taught that a good essay must grab the attention of readers. This rule leads to writer’s block because students try hard to generate phrases or sentences to capture the reader’s attention. On the contrary, the students who do not experience writer’s block write with the aid of rules but only when the rules enhance their work and writing process. In writing, there are two types of rules, namely, algorithms and heuristics.
Blockers follow writing rules as though they are algorithms, while non-blockers treat the same rules as the loose heuristics that they are meant to be. The treatment of rules as algorithms leads to an inflexible approach toward writing, which is the major source of writer’s block. Strict adherence to rules transforms writing into a mechanical and boring problem-solving process.
It is important for students to explore writing assignments from a variety of angles. For instance, they should experiment with functional and flexible plans and rules as well as open systems of thinking and planning. Students should explore different alternatives that allow them to change direction whenever they encounter writer’s block. Moreover, they should adopt open and adventurous thinking and seek feedback regarding their writing process. Teachers can treat writer’s block by evaluating the individual writing processes of students and training them to develop and apply flexible and functional alternatives.
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The article “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block” explores the causes and treatment of writer’s block. Writer’s block is one of […]