Writer’s block: unblocking and declawing


DoctoralWriting SIG

By Susan Carter

I’ve long felt that ‘writer’s block’ is too general a term. It is a bit like saying ‘I’m sick’—people know something is wrong, but to find a cure, you need more detail than that. In the last post, I reported on an excellent talk by Professor John Bitchener on giving good feedback on doctoral writing. He was also critical of the catch-all phrase ‘writer’s block.’ John suggests that what ‘writer’s block’ usually means is limited reading, limited thinking and limited scoping of the topic. His tonic for unblocking writer’s block is more reading, thinking and scoping.

The pointer to more reading rings especially true to me as being helpful for many reasons: to get the jargon of the discipline; to see how good paragraphs and sentences are constructed when the writing is clear; to locate any tensions of opposing view; and to re-inspire. And there is of…

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