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PK: Writer’s Block in Long Writing Projects: Challenges and Approaches

When Jun 21, 2016
from 09:30 to 05:00
Where Phil I, Haus B, R. 29
Contact Name
Contact Phone (+49) 0641 99 30055
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One-Day Workshop with two blocks of three hours each, e.g. 9:30-12:30; 14:00-17:00

Writing and working on your own texts is a complex process. Even after several longer writing projects, e.g. a master’s thesis, an article, or an exposé for your PhD, writing can still offer considerable challenges on several levels: structuring the wealth of material and ideas that you want to use to write your text; developing a precise focus for the specific part of the text that you want to start with; beginning with the writing process; coping with slow or frustrating writing processes; or, finally, revising or abbreviating what you have written. In all these phases, the feeling of being blocked, not being able to write, or the impression that your text is inadequate and must be revised constantly can (and often do) occur. In the workshop, we will tackle writer’s block in longer writing projects like a PhD and will, also depending on participants’ needs and individual experiences, focus on the different phases in which writer’s block can be an issue.

In the workshop, we will

  • assess your past writing strategies,
  • discuss the forms of writer’s block that can occur in the different stages of the writing process,
  • try out and evaluate different strategies for dealing with and overcoming writer’s block in practical exercises,
  • analyse the specific structure of your own writing projects (which can present very different challenges when writing them up) and the technical as well as psychological challenges they present.

The main focus of the workshop is on practical exercises and your individual experiences with your current writing projects. Please feel free to bring your own material from a current project that you would like to analyse or use for an exercise (e.g. a text you have written and would like to revise, or a part or chapter of your thesis that you are currently working on). We will also use peer-to-peer feedback to open up an exchange within the group. 

Goals of the Workshop:

The participants can assess what type of writer they are and which writing strategies fit their personality, their project, and their topic and approach. They can assess which specific aspect of the writing process or work stage may trigger feelings of being blocked. They have acquired a range of practical strategies to start writing, to go on writing, and to revise their texts successfully.

Methods used in the Workshop:

Input, discussion and case studies, practical exercises (also using participants’ material), evaluation of methods and exercises, feedback


There is the possibility to arrange an individual coaching via telephone or skype after the workshop has ended and to talk about specific writing projects in more detail. This coaching is usually one hour long and free of charge for participants of the workshop.



Sarah Heinz completed her PhD and her postdoctoral degree (habilitation) in the area of English and Anglophone literature, culture, and media. She has published internationally and has extensive experience in teaching and supervising thesis projects (on BA, MA, and PhD level). As part of her postdoctoral qualification, she absolved training in didactic methods and completed the Baden-Württemberg certificate for higher education pedagogy. She was the principal investigator in a project on how to facilitate writing processes funded by the Federal Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts Baden-Württemberg, which included a bi-weekly writing café, workshops and seminars, as well as individual coaching and feedback on writing samples and outlines for students in a weekly office hours. She also loves chocolate, which helps her writing.

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