A qualitative study based on forty four in-depth interviews with undergraduates experiencing severe difficulties with academic writing, this dissertation examines how structural factors--social class and race in particular--contribute to academic "writer's block." Writing block is more than the "personal trouble" it is typically conceived of being, it is also a "public issue" with definitive structural contributors. All of my subjects perceived writing as a high stakes performance, and their writing blocks can be understood as instances of "choking" in the face of these high stakes. For many working class students, writing block is an expression of dominant cultural capital disadvantage; while for many upper middle class students, writing block represents the psychological costs of privilege. For students with unusual class-race identifications, writing block embodies their liminal social status. In the current economic climate of uncertainty, class status for students across the socioeconomic spectrum has become relatively unstable given individuals' increased risk of downward mobility. As such, academic writing blocks may be construed as angst experienced at the intersection of psychology and structure. This study contributes to and extends the literature on social reproduction in higher education as well as the literature on the price of privilege.