Academic Writer’s Block: What is it and What Can be Done about It?


Dr. Marshall Moore, Language Instructor, Lingnan University Hong Kong


22 Nov 2017


14:00 - 15:30





This talk will give an overview of the relatively little-researched topic of writer’s block as it pertains to academics and students. Writer’s block is surrounded by a great deal of superstition and received wisdom: it has been written about in laments from great writers throughout history, and discussed at length in popular writing guidebooks and discussion forums online. However, there has been very little empirical academic research into what it is, what causes it, and what can be done to help academics and students who are struggling with writing projects. Drawing upon studies carried out by Mike Rose, Keith Hjortshoj, Alice Flaherty, and others, I will propose a three-part definition of writer’s block based on the ways it typically manifests, discuss two clusters of causes, review the extant research, and propose various approaches to dealing with the problem. One of the principal arguments I will make is the need for writers of whatever sort to demystify what we are doing: we will be more successful if we treat writing as a process that when approached with a certain mindset and intellectual honesty is achievable. We will also look at research into creativity and affect, and there will be some discussion of the ways that creativity may affect academic output. Finally, we will discuss strategies for generating ideas in situations where students (and teachers) are experiencing writer’s block.



UM Faculty and students




English Language Centre
Tel: (853) 8822 8120 / 8822 4520