Learning Through Working: Literary Writing As a Discrete Process
We conceive literary writing as an activity in which the authors are confronted with particular, concrete tasks, challenges and problems that demand individual solutions. Awareness during the writing process, therefore, is case specific and contextual. If one considers literary writing from a macro perspective, the respective institutional framework and external requirements (e.g. formal guidelines, or the purpose of a particular publication etc.), which precede actual writing, certainly play an important role. Our major interest, however, are the micro structures of the writing process. We are therefore mainly interested in experiences and problem centred processes that occur during the act of literary writing, which, in the long term, result in the formation of the writers’ professional literary competence. The term “competence”, as we conceive it, does not refer to any aesthetic literary quality, which would be the expression of literary judgement by an audience. Competence in our study thus refers to a heightened ability to cope with the specific problems and demands of the writing process. Such competence is acquired through practice and it is maintained and expanded by constant exercise. Constant application to one’s writing processes, self-identification as a writer, and involvement in a specific literary sub field will eventually produce a feeling of familiarity and, subsequently, a subjective sense of certainty about the adequacy and rightness of what one is doing.
The epistemological interest of our research project lies in
• describing the implicit dimensions of the writing process, and
• understanding the development and unfolding of literary competence.
Keywords: literary Writing, Practical Knowledge, Knowing How, Competence, Polanyi, Wittgenstein, Dreyfus, Schön
Dr. Claudia Duerr
Lecturer, Institute of Germanic Studies, University of Vienna
Since 06/2008 she is Research Grant of the Departement for Culture and Science of Vienna City for a survey on the acquisition of competence in literary writing; since 10/2006 Lecturer at the Department of German Studies at the University of Vienna.