303: My Writer’s Block

This is my writer’s block.


If you are a writer, and most of the people reading this have at least dabbled in writing, you will encounter writer’s block at some point or another. At least, that’s what I’ve read a million times. It might be true, or it might not be. If you are struggling with getting words on the page I might have some advice for you, but this is neither the time, nor the place, for advice.

This is the time and place to talk about my writer’s block. It is a block, and it happens to belong to a writer. It measures approximately 8″x4″x5Β½”. It is uncured red oak which was milled with a band saw blade.

Aside from the general appearance of the wood, oak can be identified by its strongly acidic smell. Although there are many subspecies of oak tree, for lumber purposes these species are generally divided into two categories, red oak and white oak. One would be forgiven for assuming, based on the names, that these two species are differentiated by the color of the wood, but this is not an entirely reliable method.

A better way to differentiate between red oak and white oak is to examine the physical structure of the wood. Both white oak and red oak are ring porous trees, however the pores in white oak are filled with a substance known as tyloses. The existence of this substance makes it more difficult for liquid to penetrate white oak, and is the reason that whiskey is traditionally aged in barrels made from this wood. If you examine the picture below you can clearly see open holes in the ring structure, indicating that my writers block is made from red oak as opposed to white oak.


Open holes in the ring structure of the wood.

I am confident that it was milled using a band saw because of the straight lines in the wood which indicate the motion of the saw blade. The lines made by a circular saw would bend in a quarter circle.

IMG_20200826_100700328 (1)

The straight lines going from side to side indicate blade movement pattern.

I refer to this piece of wood as uncured because it has not undergone the drying process which removes water from the cellular structure of the wood. This process increases the stability of the wood, but it’s not really essential for something as simple as a writer’s block.

Normally this block sits in my basement and collects dog hair. If I ever become a famous writer I will probably put it on my desk. If adoring fans ever come to my office I will swivel around in my high backed chair, glare at them intimidatingly and ask them what they think of my writers block as I light a giant cigar.

High aspirations for this humble block, I know. But we all deserve our little dreams.

Photos by Dumbestblogger

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45 thoughts on “303: My Writer’s Block

  1. Your writer’s block reminds me of my pet rock named, interestingly enough, Rocky. As soon as I find him again I will write a post about him. I hope you will allow me to visit your office and tell your secretaries to let me in.

  2. I was a professional author for more than 30 years writing books and for TV and film, now I am retired. As a professional writer you don’t have a writer’s block, you just write every day 5 to 7 hours. None of my colleagues ever had problems with a writer’s block. Writer’s block seems to me an excuse of unprofessional writers not having the discipline writing every day.
    I like your explanations of this oak block.
    Have a happy day
    The Fab Four of Cley
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  3. I used to have one of those but one night I ate a cheese sandwich just before bedtime and in the morning it had just disappeared. That’s when I started writing about my strange dreams of blocks of wood with teleporting abilities.

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  5. the public image of writer blocks is poor. It is not uncommon for the owners to blame them all the time. Your respect for them is commendable.

  6. just brilliant! now I want one, preferably mahogany, but I’ll probably settle for pine. depends on what sort of hairy lumber scraps I can find in my basement.

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