From Writer’s Block to Extended Plot: Career Construction Theory and Lives in Writing

Authors: Dix, H.

Editors: Perkins, M.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/30269/

http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rlwr20

Journal: Life Writing

Volume: 16

Publisher: Routledge

ISSN: 1448-4528

Although intangible, authorial careers are nevertheless material entities that have to be constructed in order to exist and that can be analysed to generate critical understanding of the creative works produced within them. Yet until recently, very little research or scholarly attention had been devoted to the concept of the authorial career as such. This paper argues that the body of work known as career construction theory, which originated in social psychology at the end of the twentieth century, can be used to discuss authorial careers in order to illuminate the relationship between life stages and writing practice in new ways. This is because career construction posits individuals as metaphorical ‘authors’ of their own life stories, with career counsellors acting as co-authors of the next chapter in an individual’s career narrative during times of career uncertainty or vocational change. By identifying certain life themes – or macro-narratives – that transcend the concerns or issues that preoccupy an author at precise stages in their careers (or micro-narratives), it draws attention to a complex dual time frame on which authorial careers are based, emphasising a combination of sameness and difference over time.

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Authors: Dix, H.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/30269/

Journal: Life Writing

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Pages: 11-26

eISSN: 1751-2964

ISSN: 1448-4528

DOI: 10.1080/14484528.2018.1429772

© 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Although intangible, authorial careers are nevertheless material entities that have to be constructed in order to exist and that can be analysed to generate critical understanding of the creative works produced within them. Yet until recently, very little research or scholarly attention had been devoted to the concept of the authorial career as such. This paper argues that the body of work known as career construction theory, which originated in social psychology at the end of the twentieth century, can be used to discuss authorial careers in order to illuminate the relationship between life stages and writing practice in new ways. This is because career construction posits individuals as metaphorical ‘authors’ of their own life stories, with career counsellors acting as co-authors of the next chapter in an individual’s career narrative during times of career uncertainty or vocational change. By identifying certain life themes–or macro-narratives–that transcend the concerns or issues that preoccupy authors at precise stages in their careers (or micro-narratives), it draws attention to a complex dual time frame on which authorial careers are based, emphasising a combination of sameness and difference over time.

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