"How I Wrote This Article" Article

"Couldn't think of any lyrics!
No, I never wrote the lyrics.
So I'll just sing any old lyrics.
That come to mind, child."
—"This Song Is Just Six Words Long", "Weird Al" Yankovic

When someone is contractually obligated to churn out regular humorous articles, they occasionally reach an inspirational dead end. Sometimes, to deal with this, they write an article about how they can't think of anything to write.

Stephen Fry mentions in the book collection of his articles that every humor writer is allowed one and only one of these.

Almost always a form of Self-Referential Humor. See also Writer's Block.


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     Comic Books  


  • Adaptation. is this in movie-form — it's a film telling the story of adapting a book into the screenplay of what eventually becomes the film you're watching.
  • Fellini's 8 is a film about making a film, when you've run out of ideas.


  • In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut's narration frequently goes off to explain what he was going through when he was writing it.
  • Belgian novelist Herman Brusselmans uses this trope on occasion, often as an introduction. The first sentence of De kus in de nacht (The kiss in the night) is as follows: "As usual I have nothing to say and I will do so for about 600 to 650 pages, we'll see."
  • "This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself".
  • Dave Barry does this every so often.
  • An academic journal of psychology once published a scholarly study entitled "The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of Writers' Block". Peer reviewers commended the author for showing his results in great detail while being admirably concise. Of course, everything except the title is blank.
  • Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy once wrote an article in which he explains that he should wrote a humorous article, but he can't, because a young man is standing behind him and reads what he writes (he usually wrote in coffee houses).
  • Umberto Eco had a column in the Italian news magazine L'espresso and he once wrote an article about how he can't think of anything to write about, but the space needs to be filled, so he's now writing this article about how he can't think of anything.

     Live Action TV  

  • In the song "Boat Drinks" Jimmy Buffett sang, "I should be leaving this climate/I've got a verse but can't rhyme it."
  • In "A Story Short" from The Storyteller, the eponymous storyteller is forced to tell a new story every day. On the last day, due to an outlandish series of events, he doesn't have time to think up a new story, so he tells the story of why he couldn't.


  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "This Song Is Just Six Words Long" is about this.
  • Eminem's song "Just Lose It" has a section that goes "I don't have any lines that go here".
  • Ben Folds' "One Down" is about the fact he's contractually obliged to write 3.6 more songs and he feels conflicted about "turning in a bunch of shit."
  • They Might Be Giants' "Number Three" (third song on their first album) is about burning out after writing only two songs.
  • Gwen Stefani's hit "What You Waiting For?" is about Gwen's writer's block during the making of her debut solo abum, Love Angel Music Baby, and addressed to herself.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • FoxTrot: "This is my fourth sentence. This is my fifth sentence. This is my second paragraph..." Jason calls his essay "a running first-person account of the process of writing a nine-hundred-word essay."
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Hobbes ended up writing this story for Calvin after he tried time traveling two hours into the future to retrieve his completed story, only to find it hadn't been written yet. Unfortunately for Calvin, the class loves it, but it makes him look like a laughingstock.

     Web Original