[[quoteright:198:[[ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/s_Block_122.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:198:Hobbes isn't a fan of {{Visual Pun}}s.]]

->''"He had writer's block once. It was the worst ten minutes of his life."''
-->-- '''Creator/HarlanEllison''' referring to Creator/IsaacAsimov (writer or editor of more than 500 books and an estimated 9,000 letters and postcards)

Someone struggles with putting pen to paper and can't get their thoughts out. Regardless of whether it's something as simple as a school report or as complex as a full-length novel, they just can't bring themselves to write what they want.

This tends to involve one of two things: either someone tackling a temporary writing assignment, or [[MostWritersAreWriters someone who writes for a living]]. Often, to get past it, the person in question has to overcome some kind of mental block in order to continue writing. A WorldOfCardboardSpeech may happen as the character breaks their restraints and moves forward.

In these cases, it rarely crops up more than once in a work. In the former, this is because the task of writing is never mentioned again -- it's a subplot or single episode plot only. In the latter, once overcome, said writer never runs into that obstacle again.

Occasionally, the whole thing will be [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]], sometimes with some sort of VisualPun.

May result in a LastMinuteProject, and can lead to AnAesop. WritersBlockMontage is a subtrope. See FictionalDocument and MostWritersAreWriters. Do not confuse this with our [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/conversations.php?topic=000000000000000000000295 Writer's Block forum section]].

For a work [[MetaConcepts written about the writer's own writer's block]], see HowIWroteThisArticleArticle.

This is very much TruthInTelevision. Writing is not always easy; just ask any RealLife author.

This problem can affect visual artists as well, in which case it's called Art(ist's) Block. Put the two forms together and you get ScheduleSlip and WebcomicTime.


[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]
* [[http://bakuman.wikia.com/wiki/Akito_Takagi Akito Takagi]] from ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'' experiences this while trying to make a battle manga over summer break. He is best at deep and dark stories, mostly non-mainstream. When tasked with creating a mainstream battle manga over the summer, he fails to deliver.
* Happens to Nakuru in episode 13 of ''LightNovel/MayoChiki''. After a boy confesses his love to her, she gets very confused by it as she feels she's not the type to attract boys, since she's a MegaNekko and obsessed {{Doujinshi}} writer/artist of [[BoysLove BL manga]]. She then asks [[MistakenForGay Jiro]] out on a date to see if it's simply because of her [[BuxomIsBetter boobs]], and after he helps her by barely resisting her advances, she seems to snap out of her block. But then she also has a LoveEpiphany when she [[BishieSparkle looks at him afterwards]] as well, and hilariously runs away.
* One example comes from ''Manga/SamuraiHaremAsuNoYoichi''. When Chihaya is stuck on new ideas for her manga, she lets Yoichi read one of them, and he tells her that it's very interesting. She then gets excited, and in order to get some new ideas, decides to [[TheTease flirt]] with him a little bit. Although [[ChasteHero he lets her down gently]], she laughs and says she was just joking about it, then [[ClingyJealousGirl her sister Ibuki]] walks in, and Chihaya jokingly lies and says that Yoichi was trying to strip her. HilarityEnsues as Yoichi gets chased by Ibuki.
** After seeing some of Chihaya's classmates mock her hard work and trash her illustrations, then talk about not wanting to do anything with their lives, Yoichi beats them up for their lack of motivation, as well as their attempts to put down others who are trying to do something with their lives. His actions inspire some more ideas for her manga as a result.
* In ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'', Tsubomi and Erika aid inspiring mangaka Ban, who is stuck on a portion of his ''doujinshi'' about the Cures. In his story, Blossom had fallen in love with a handsome young man (who looks like a fusion of Ban and Itsuki) and Marine decides to help her out. However, Marine ends up falling for him as well, setting up a LoveTriangle. Ban has absolutely no idea how to solve the problem. [[spoiler:Tsubomi and Erika end up acting out the logical solution - that Blossom and Marine decide that their friendship and duty is much more important that a guy.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/ShoujotachiWaKouyaOMezasu'', Buntarou suffers this a few times. The first time he's told to just write, and eventually manages to write enough material for the others to work with. Later on he goes through another bout, which then forces the others to lock him in his room and preventing him from escaping through the window, or distracting himself with internet. He gets through this after Yuuka talks to him a little bit while he's in the bath.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* In Issue 5 of '''Mazing Man'', Denton gets writer's block, and the main story is all his friends coming over and telling him stories to put in the comic. This issue came out without UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode stamp of approval because one of the stories told to Denton concerns zombies, which was a no-no.
* The [[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]] volume "Dream Country" includes the story "Calliope", about a writer whose first book was a critical smash, but who has writer's block so badly that he can't even start on the follow-up book. He is given the Muse Calliope, and by keeping her captive and raping her repeatedly, he is inspired to great writing. When asked to release her, the writer complains that he won't have any ideas without her presence, so Morpheus grants him an unending stream of ideas -- there are so many and they come so fast that he goes mad trying to even write them down.
* ''The Great ComicBook/{{Fables}} Crossover'' centered around return of the leader of The Literals - race of [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Anthropomorphic Personifications]] of literary concepts - The Writer, who had power to [[RealityWarper change reality according to what he wrote]]. Having decided that world ran out of control since his dissaperance, he wanted to fix it...only to meet his brother, Writer's Block, whose existence made him unable to write. For most of the story he consults Literals embodying different genres, trying to find a way to get rid of his writer's block without having to murder his brother.
* Jonathan Law (Tarantula) struggled with both this and alcoholism in ''JSA: ComicBook/TheGoldenAge''.

[[folder: Film ]]
* This is the story behind the film ''Film/{{Adaptation}}''. The screenwriter got writer's block trying to adapt a book without a story into a film, and ended up [[NestedStory writing a story about a screenwriter with writer's block who is trying to adapt a book without a story into a film]].
* In ''Film/HerAlibi'', Blackwood is suffering from a long dry spell in his writing. To resolve it, he goes to the local courthouse to watch the criminal trials and mine ideas, and it's there he meets the enigmatic Nina, who stands accused of murder, and decides to give her an alibi so he can use her presence to fuel the premise of his book.
* The short film ''Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life'' is about Creator/FranzKafka suffering this while he is trying to write the opening line of ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis''.
* ''Film/SecretWindow'': Protagonist Mort Rainey (Creator/JohnnyDepp) has difficulty writing the ending to his novel. At first it seems this is brought on simply because he's recently had a divorce, has alcoholic tendencies, and is generally neglecting himself. Then a creepy guy shows up and things turn a different way. Let's just say that at a re-watch, the WritersBlock can be viewed entirely different.
* Also the plot of ''Film/StrangerThanFiction'', where Karen Eiffel has a case of it in trying to kill Harold Crick, the main character.
* Author Calvin Weir-Field, until he's urged to write down his dreams about ''Film/RubySparks''.
* ''Film/BartonFink'': The movie is about a writer suffering from writer's block, written by Creator/TheCoenBrothers as way of getting around a bout of writer's block on another project.
* ''Swimming Pool (2003)'': The story revolves around a middle-aged English mystery author, who is having writer's block that is impeding her next book.
* ''Film/TheShining'': The fact that Jack is a writer who is suffering severely from writer's block is the reason the family goes to the hotel in the first place.
* Creator/ChristopherWalken's character in ''Film/{{Communion}}'' suffers from it but eventually overcomes the blockade.
* ''Film/IfYouBelieve'': The movie's protagonist Susan is a jaded book editor. One of her star writers Dylan suffers from a long depression or some other mental breakdown and is currently off medication. He has written two third's of a brilliant novel and knows what to do with the rest, but he cannot bring himself to finish it.
* ''DeconstructingHarry'': writer's block is one of the symptoms of the title character's depression. And his full ([[MeaningfulName meaningful]]) name is Harry Block.
* This happens to [[TheMuse Serendipity]] in ''Film/{{Dogma}}'' when she leaves Heaven and becomes human. She at least appreciates the irony of the situation.
-->'''Rufus''': What are you doing stripping?\\
'''Serendipity''': You remember why I left, right?\\
'''Rufus''': You were tired of doing all the work and getting none of the credit for your ideas.\\
'''Serendipity''': So, I opted to quit being a muse. I gave my two weeks notice, got a body, fifty bucks, and got sent out into the world to seek my fortune.\\
'''Bethany''': So, what happened?\\
'''Serendipity''': Writer's block. Can you believe it? Me, a muse for God's sake! I can inspire anyone I meet and give out a zillion and nine ideas a second, but I can't keep any for myself. [[ActuallyPrettyFunny Her quirky sense of humor]].
* The visual equivalent in ''Film/TheDragonPainter''. Tatsu's love for Ume-ko renders him unable to paint.
* Joan Wilder, the romance novelist who is the heroine of ''Film/RomancingTheStone'', comes up against this problem in the sequel ''Jewel of the Nile''. Now that she's actually met, romanced and sailed off into the sunset with the hero, [[AndThenWhat what comes next?]] This naturally affects her writing, so the movie begins with Joan pitching her typewriter overboard after she's unable to resolve a CliffHanger in her latest novel.
* Satirical short film ''Film/FranzKafkasItsAWonderfulLife'' has Creator/FranzKafka utterly stuck on the very first line of what will become ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis'', unable to decide what Gregor Samsa should transform into. He keeps balling up and tossing away first pages, which litter the floor of his apartment.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* In ''Literature/TheCityOfDreamingBooks'', the [[TakeOurWordForIt most perfect piece of writing]] is a short story about the author dealing with writer's block.
* A crippling case strikes one of the supporting characters in David Lodge's novel ''Literature/SmallWorld''.
* The main protagonist of ''Literature/BagOfBones'' is a writer suffering from it after the death of his wife.
* A researcher once published a peer-reviewed journal article entitled "The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of Writers' Block". [[spoiler:Everything except the title was blank]].
* In ''Literature/ThePlague'', Joseph Grand starts writing a story about a woman on horseback, but never gets past the first line, which he keeps rewriting by changing around the adjectives.
* ''Literature/JinxHigh'': During the first lecture in Diana's writing seminar, she bashes Writer's Block pretty hard.

[[folder: Music ]]
* ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-boKk8uhmcY Wither]]'' by Music/DreamTheater is about writer's block.
* "Bleed It Out" by Music/LinkinPark is often interpreted to be about self-mutilation, but is really about how many revisions the song's writing went through.
-->''Yeah, here we go for the hundredth time''
-->''Hand grenade pins in every line''
-->''Throw 'em up and let something shine''
-->''Going out of my [[PrecisionFStrike fucking mind]]''

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this by having [[LiteralMinded Calvin]] make a ''physical'' writer's block...one that prevents anyone from using his desk.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* In series 1 of ''Series/{{Spaced}}'' Daisy has aspirations of being a writer, but struggles with writers block / lack of motivation and comes up with distractions for herself. This is highlighted in the last episode of season 1, where during an argument, Tim references several of the plots of previous episodes (to the backdrop of Tekken 2):
-->'''Daisy:''' I am not avoiding work!\\
'''Tim:''' Oh right OK, oh well, ooh let's have a party, ooh let's do some theater, ooh let's get a dog, ooh let's spend hours in front of our bedroom mirror BOGLING TO ASWAD!\\
'''Daisy:''' That was research!
* In a two-part episode of ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'', Blanche wants to write romance novels based on her life experiences, but doesn't know where or how to begin. What follows is one of the best exchanges on the show; [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP37RQ7pmW0 here it is.]]
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'': The first episode has the eponymous mystery novelist kill off his most popular character and struggle when trying to write something. After helping the police solve a case connected to his novels, he [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections makes an arrangement]] that allows him to tag along on Detective Kate Beckett's investigations for material to use in his books and ends up [[WriteWhoYouKnow using Beckett as the basis]] for his new character.
* ''Series/{{Voyagers}}'': In "[[Recap/VoyagersS1E20JacksBack Jack's Back]]", when the story starts, Arthur Conan Doyle has written only ''Literature/AStudyInScarlet'' and is unable to come up with anything further.
* ''Series/TheWestWing'':
** Sam is told by Leo to write a birthday message for a minor official, a busywork task that would normally go to a junior staffer. When the President sends it back for ''a second draft'', Sam starts to obsess over it and winds up roping in Toby in to "nail it." The shot of him scrunching a paper in his fist and pounding it on the desk shows up in one of the 'previouslies' next season.
** Toby, as a result of massive writing fatigue and nerves, falls victim to this on Bartlet's second inaugural address. He deals with it by setting his failed attempts ''[[KillItWithFire on fire]]'' right there in his office.
* ''Series/MillionYenWomen'': Shin, who writes for a living, struggles with it early in the series. His family situation is complicated enough that it would be more surprising if he ''wasn't'' suffering from it.

[[folder: Theatre ]]
* In ''Theatre/BellsAreRinging'', Jeffrey Moss almost kills himself struggling to write a play on his own and not getting anywhere.
* Happens with Rodolfo in the first act of ''Theatre/LaBoheme'' just before Mimì first knocks on his door. Rodolfo and Marcello are both afflicted by this in the fourth act (which uses the same music).
* The stage production of ''{{Film/Newsies}}'' features a song called "Watch What Happens", centering on [[IntrepidReporter Katherine Plumber]] reflecting on what a great story her piece about the Newsboys Strike is going to be, if only she can figure out what she is doing and how she is going to write it.
* ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix'': Jefferson has considerable trouble with the Declaration, to the consternation of Adams.
-->'''John Adams:''' Do you mean to say that it is NOT YET FINISHED?
-->'''Thomas Jefferson:''' No sir. I mean to say that it is not yet begun.
* Spalding Gray's one-man show ''Monster in a Box'' is a ninety-minute account of all of the things that Gray did while he was supposed to be finishing a novel.

[[folder: Webcomics ]]
* Like ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' above, ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' has a physical big square writer's block show up in some of the non-canon strips. In this case, it's Shive [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] his own writer's block. And once in-story ([[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2006-06-07 sort of]]). He even made two [[http://www.egscomics.com/backgrounds.page?&start=36 backgrounds]] with it.
* In ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'', a variation occurs as one of Gregory's friends suffers from this while trying to write lyrics for a song.
* Lego webcomic ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'' presents [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/374.html another literal case]], but, as shown [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/376.html a few strips later]] this one is not so bad.
* ''Webcomic/SketchComedy'' begins with the author struggling with cartoonist's block. Coming strong right out of the gate!
* Another literal [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]]: In one ''Webcomic/VGCats'' strip, [[AuthorAvatar pantsman]] is being taunted by one of these.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2529 Slick can't write anything.]]
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2728 Satan offers a free sample of a cure.]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* An episode of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' cartoon featured Creator/EdgarAllanPoe having writer's block.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies'' has Gonzo trying to write a story, and has trouble writing, which shows up as [[VisualPun a giant writer's block in-story]]. The solution? Writer's ''Termites''.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/KappaMikey'' had Guano getting writer's block, to the point where he can't even type ''his own name''.
* Poet Smurf dealt with writer's block in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' episode "Poet's Writer's Block".
* In season 4 of ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'', Nathan Explosion undergoes a bad case of songwriter's block. This is particularly bad for him because the economic health of the world is dependent on Dethklok, and [[spoiler: Nathan destroyed the master of their next album after a freak storm sank all of the ships transporting the copies]]. How he gets over his writer's block is perhaps worth mentioning. [[spoiler: He's forced into a situation where he either writers a new song on the spot, or has to suck off a sultan looking for a new harem. Seems like pretty good motivation.]]
* The episode "[[Recap/SpongebobSquarepantsS2E17ProcrastinationImWithStupid Procrastination]]" of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' involved the title character's essay assignment for Mrs. Puff's driving school. He couldn't think of what to write so kept putting it off by doing chores around his house and, eventually, putting a giant illuminated T at the beginning of his essay. Finally, he realizes that [[EurekaMoment the stupid things he's been doing all fit the essay topic as well]] and gets them down.