Writing process
Metaforhjemmesiden ved Carlo Grevy - ny e-mail

Hovedmenu Op

Litteratur ]

Nyt - antologi om metaforer, metaforteori, kognitiv semantik og fagsprog


These are my notes (for myself) for the talk at Purdue Oct. 2000 about the writing process. There has been no proofreading! It has not been possible to include the diagrams and figures I demonstrated in my talk.

24-09-02 / CG




Carlo Grevy, Denmark


The text, the language, and "the I"


Often, when we talk about text production, we say that "the I" constructs the text. This is a very problematical perception, because we assume a text production where "the I" seems to be in charge, free to chose from the vocabulary, and free to include every figure it wants. This is a model where knowledge is arbitrarily separated from language, and this separation is grounded in a literary, romantic, psychological conceptualization of man and woman. Another point of view regards language itself as far more active in the text production, to see language as an autonomous unit. Producing text then means, not that "the I" is writing, but that "the I" accesses language. In this meeting between "the I" and the language, the individual experiences changes to social knowledge.

Using this point of view gives meaning to the practices and theories of writing. Using the research in writing, theories of composition, notions of collaborative learning, ideas of writing across the curriculum, and writing in the disciplines, together, as an empirical basis for knowledge of text production, I will demonstrate, that talking about language as indicated above, is not only a commonplace but a reality.



The text, the language, and "the I"



- Denmark - Germany - The States

- Grounded on experiences through many years, since the 60thies

- In Europe: theoretical points of vies

- Both places: romantic idea of writing, based on literature


How to teach students to write

- A problem in Denmark (internalization, literature in high school etc.)

- Study the theories - and the practices in teaching writing


Is the American way critical enough?

- It is not critical enough!

- It is not theoretical enough - in this way: meta-theoretical



- The problem: the inappropriate theories and practices prevent us from A) understanding writing processes, and B) teaching writing in a proper way

- The focus on "the I" is the problem. This point of view makes us not understand writing processes - and how texts function

- The problem is wide spread in the linguistic fields - both in the States and in Europe. The big influence of literature!


1) The American literature on writing

2) Models

3) Text example (very short)

4) Some suggestions




The text, the language, and "the I"


(Harris 1997):

Writing process as:






Contact and negotiation


- From 1960

- Rethinking

- Practical ways we represent writing, reading, literacy, and literature

- Composition as knowledge-making discipline


- Writing: accessing knowledge

- Language: the I-You-it aspect


- Free-writing

- Personal experiences

- Writing to learn


- Individualistic turn: the authentic voices

- Elbow: voices - "real rhythm and texture"

- The mysterious

- The individual is in focus

- Expressive kind of writing

- Creative power - intuition

- The writer as a genius

- The authentic I


The conceptual movement

- Berlin

- Epistemic rhetoric: language forms our conception of ourselves!


- The writing as process

- The text: voice of the individual


Other scholars:

- Brooke (1991): "Writing and sense of self"

- "Learning to write meaningfully … requires developing and understanding the self as writer, as someone who uses writing to further personal thinking and to help solve public problems"



Of interest:

- Grammar shall not help

- Teaching grammar as a system of knowledge is irrelevant to learning to write!

- Does "errors" exist in the text?



- Idealization of the I

- A romantic point of view

- A romantic idea of knowledge (as something absolute)

The community


Other issues:

- The genre - registers


The WAC program

- The "natural" program

- Collaboration


The plural I (Coles 1978)

- Writers can have many selves, and that being aware of these varied possible selves, and of the self enacted at any given moment by one's style, is the beginning of wisdom


The metacognition view

- The goals in the machinery

- Linda Flower

- The writing process as a computer calculation


The writing project:

- Freeing the I

- Write to learn - access to knowledge

- Liberation inner speech (Moffett)

- The authority of the subject

- Being collaborative - accessing knowledge



- Telling about them selves - what does it mean?

- Re-writing - does it make them find their own meaning?


-- But what does "knowledge" mean. Not anything absolute!

-- A constructivistict point of view!



- Another point of view

- Not focus at "the I", the subject

- Perhaps this is a better way going for the same goal


In general:

- A part of the writing paradigm

- The writer as producer of text

- The subject, the creative, innovative, intuitive I

  • The focus






      Björk, Lennart & Christine Räisänen (1996): Academic writing. A university writing course. Lund: Studentlitteratur

      Bowden, Darsie (1995): "The rise of a metaphor: 'voice' in composition pedagogy". In: Rhetoric review 14 (1), 173-188

      Brooke, Robert E. (1991): Writing and sense of self. Identity negotiation in writing workshops. Urbana, Illinois: National council of teachers of English

      Brown, Jean E. & Elaine C. Stephens (1995): "Writing as transformation: a new paradigm for content writing". In: The clearing house 69 (1), 14-16

      Bruffee, Kenneth A. (1973): "Collaborative learning: some practical models"; in: College English 34, 634-43

      Bruffee, Kenneth A. (1984): "Collaborative learning and the 'conversation of mankind'"; in: College English 46 (7), 635-652

      Carey, Linda & Lois Jesephs Fowler (1986): "Strategies for writing: theories and practices"; in: CCC 37 (3), 302-314

      Coles, William E. Jr. (1978): The plural I. The teaching of writing. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston

      Cooper, Marilyn M. (2000): "Review. A teaching subject: composition since 1966. Joseph Harris. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall 1996. 160 pp. $26.80 (paper)"; in: CCC 3, vol. 51, February, 503-505

      Costa, Arthur L. & Robert J Garmston (1994): Cognitive coaching: a foundation for renaissance school. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.

      Costa, Arthur L. (ed.) (1985): Developing minds. A resource book for teaching thinking. Alexandria VA: Association for supervision and curriculum development

      Elbow, Peter (1981): Writing with power. Techniques for mastering the writing process. Oxford: Oxford University Press

      Elbow, Peter (1995): "Being a writer vs. being an academic: a conflict in goals"; in: CCC 46 (1), 72-83

      Faigley, Lester (1995): Fragments of rationality. Postmodernity and the subject of composition. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press

      Faigley, Lester; Roger D. Cherry, David A. Jolliffe & Anna M. Skinner (1985): Assessing writers' knowledge and processes of composing. Norwood, New Jersey: Ables publishing corporation

      Flower, Linda & John R. Hayes (1981): "A cognitive process theory of writing"; in: CCC 32, 365-387

      Flower, Linda (1979): "Writer-based prose: a cognitive basis for problems in writing"; in: College English 1, vol. 41, September, 19-37

      Harris, Joseph (1989): "The idea of community in the study of writing". In: CCC 40 (1), 11-22

      Harris, Joseph (1996): A teaching subject. Composition since 1966. London: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

      Hunter, Susan & Ray Wallace (eds.) (1995): The place of grammar in writing instruction. Past, present, future. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook publishers

      Moffett, James (1985): "Liberating inner speech"; in: CCC 36 (3), 304-308

      Mullin, Joan A. & Pamela B. Childers (1995): "The natural connection: the wac program and the high school writing center". In: The clearing house 69 (1), 24-26

      Murray, Donald M. (1984): Write to learn. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston

      Olson, Carol Both (1985): "The thinking/writing connection"; in: Costa, Arthur L. (ed.), 102-108

      Ong, Walter J. (1975): "The writer's audience is always a fiction". In: PMLA, Publications of the modern language association of America, 90 (1), 9-21

      Robinson, Pauline C. (ed.) (1988): Academic writing: process and product. Hong Kong: Moderns English publications in association with The British Council. ELT Document 129

      Sharples, Mike (1999): How we write. Writing as creative design. London: Routledge

      Swales, John M. (1990): Genre analysis. English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge university press

      Swartzlander, Susan; Diana Pace & Virginia Lee Stamler (1993): "The ethics of requiring students to write about their personal lives"; in: The chronicle of higher education, Feb. 17, B1

      Vaughn, Gary & Babara Wenner (1999): "'Fare from the madding crowd': the lighter side of error in student writing". In: Teaching English in the two-year college, TETYC, 26 (3), 291-298

      Williams, Joseph M. (1981): "The phenomenology of error"; in: CCC 32 (2), 152-168

Total reference list