Susan Latta

Women and writer’s block: An exploration of social and cultural influences upon the writing processes of five graduate student writers

Susan Latta

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1995; pp: 153
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice M.
  • Source: DAI-A 56/09, p. 3562, Mar 1996
  • Subjects: Language, General (0679)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9601526

Abstract:

    This research investigates social and cultural influences such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, family, and religion on the incidence of writer’s block and writing apprehension. The writing processes of five graduate women writers were examined and, in relation to the above factors, comparisons were made among the following variables: overall tendency to block or to experience apprehension, daily levels of blocking and apprehension, epistemological positions, communicative roles, and textual strategies. Levels of blocking and apprehension varied over the course of the study. Writers who showed a preference for subjective, personal, and connected approaches to communication evidenced higher levels of blocking while those who favored procedural and constructed approaches evidenced higher levels of apprehension. Also, writers who perceived dissonance between writer and reader roles also experienced more difficulty in completing their writing tasks. In addition to audience concerns, the data suggest issues such as voice and authority may be factors in the incidence of these phenomena. Implications for future research include further studies that attempt to look at writing as a socially and culturally situated rhetorical act and, specifically, studies which examine writer’s block and writing apprehension among other populations, including all-male and mixed gender groups. The study also suggests studies conducted as Participatory Action Research can benefit the participants. For classroom practice, the use of critical analysis strategies in writing in the disciplines studies and non-traditional forms, such as dialogues, is suggested.