Most books on writing assume that the sole purpose of writing is communication. These manuals seldom go beyond teaching how to avoid the problems of punctuation, grammar, and style that at one time or another ensnare the best of writers. Few, if ...
if any, of these books explore writing as a way of shaping thought.
V.A. Howard and J.H. Barton, two Harvard researchers in education, take a radically different approach. While they agree with their predecessors that an important function of writing is the clear, direct expression of thought, they point out that many of our thoughts first come into being only when put to paper. By failing to recognize the link between thinking and writing, we fall into the deadlock innappropriately named writer's block.
Thinking on Paper shows how writer's block as well as many other writing problems are engendered by the tendency, supported by traditional approaches, to separate thinking from writing. Drawing on the developing field of symbol theory, Howard and Barton explain why this sepapration is unsound and demonstrate how to improve dramatically our ability to generate and express ideas. For everyone who writes, this is a readable, accessible manual of immense educational and practical value.