Sunday, February 1, 2009


Woodworking is my dad's hobby and seeing the cabinets yesterday that he's building for his bathroom reminded me of the entertainment center (pictured above) he built for LW and me a couple of years ago. Its carpentry utilizes all sorts of fancy woodworking handiwork. As I'm much more of an amateur woodworker, I'd probably miss pointing out some of the intricate, detailed work if I tried explaining its finer points. It would certainly take a carpenter to appreciate the depth of its craftsmanship. I can tell you that the entertainment center looks good. I just would be at a loss to explain exactly why.

Don't worry, you didn't stumble into a carpentry blog. What I realized today about writing does, however, relate to woodworking. My dad can glance at a piece of wooden furniture and tell you all sorts of details about it that escape me (such as the type of stain, the grain of the wood, things like the dovetails, etc.).

A trained eye for writing like that of an agent or editor possesses the same quick, discernment for a piece of literature. They don't need to spend much time looking at someone's work to tell if they know what they're doing or not.

A good carpenter doesn't leave a nail showing or a gap in his cabinetry. Just the same, an author that wants to be published doesn't commit certain sins. Learning those and weeding those from one's writing takes time, but any profession takes time to master. My dad has spent years honing his woodworking skills.

Keep the end in mind as you struggle at times writing. One day it'll be nice to look back at your finished work with pride. I'm sure your story will end up as good looking and as appreciated as my entertainment center. Keep whittling away!


  1. Thanks, Barrie. I'll have to tell my dad that. I keep telling him he ought to try and sell some of his works.