The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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The Professional


Among the nicer things about writing this blog are the occasional notes I receive by those who tell me that they enjoy my posts. I can honestly say that more than a few people have told me that I should be writing about woodworking professionally. I don’t agree with that assessment, but nonetheless it was flattering to hear. Because I am neither a professional writer nor a professional woodworker I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing about the topic. Obviously I write a blog about woodworking, but it is less about projects and techniques  and rather more about the lunacy I encounter in woodworking magazines and forums.  So that being said, maybe there is a small place for me in the ranks of professional woodworking writers….

Actually, there probably isn’t. While I have no moral opposition to being paid for my posts, I would still not feel comfortable being under any obligation where I know that I may not be able to put forth my best efforts. The real truth is something that I’ve never mentioned on this blog. But believe it or not I have had several offers from some very respectable sources offering to pay me for my services. Up to this point I turned them down graciously with no hard feelings either way. At this juncture in my life I simply don’t have the time to put forth the effort needed to become a “professional writer”. Of course, there is a very small part of me that would love to throw caution to the wind, quit my job, and become a “starving artist”, but that part is far outweighed by the part of me that really doesn’t like starving artists all that much. Still, the offer of some free tools here and there along with a little extra cash was and is tempting. However, though my reputation in the world of woodworking blogging may not be stellar, in the real world I am a pretty respectable person. In order for me to be a good parent, husband, and human being I need to live my life with integrity, and taking money or goods for a job or contract that I may or may not be able to give my best efforts to is not the way to go about it.

For the record, I do not openly solicit myself in any way. In fact, the one and only time I ever submitted an article for consideration was to Popular Woodworking Magazine for an ‘End Grain” piece. Naturally it was shot down in flames like a scud missile. My failure notwithstanding, I am not writing this blog to hone my skills in the hopes that I may be paid to do this one day; I do it because I mostly enjoy it. That doesn’t mean I’m dismissing the option completely. When and if I receive an offer that I find fair and reasonable, I will certainly consider it. Rest assured if that day ever comes I will put forth my best efforts.


So for those of you who were kind enough to leave those nice notes I was talking about, I thank you. Not long ago I mentioned on this blog that I am through explaining myself and what I write, and I meant it sincerely. I am making an exception in this case not for the benefit of those who feel the need to criticize rather than enjoy, but for those who thought enough about what I do to take the time to let me know about it. I truly appreciate it, and even more so the fact that you think somebody ought to be paying me. Maybe there will be a day when that happens, but for now I’m just happy to be here.



  1. Kinderhook88 says:

    Nevermind the trolls, they will always be there. Keep doing what your doing for YOUR audience. They’ll love you for it, and the trolls will find another target. Those of us that want what you’re offering will keep coming back.

  2. theindigowoodworker says:

    Yeah, don’t quit. Screw the trolls. I created a WP blog just so I could be a pest,/strike> post on your blog. That’s the extent of my writing ability. Wait, does that make me a troll?

    • theindigowoodworker says:

      I created a WP blog just so I could be a pest post on your blog. That’s the extent of my writing ability. Wait, does that make me a troll?

      wow, messed that up! You think they’d let you edit your posts. Lots of dolts like me making mistakes all the time.

      • billlattpa says:

        The only time I really think about quitting is when I get so busy that I can’t woodwork, which is what’s going on right now. Otherwise, I don’t think you’re a troll, but if you are it’s with good intentions!

  3. dzj9 says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing an ad or two on your blog. Writing a column takes time, so why not be compensated for it? Go for it, I say.
    (Keep your day job, though)

    • billlattpa says:

      I had one offer which was pretty nice, the only problem I had with it was that the company wanted me to submit the article to them and tell me what they wanted me to edit, etc. I can understand that, but I don’t have the time to commit to editing and re-editing stuff as much as I would like to. Maybe a few years from now if I’m still here and still doing this I will reconsider. Either way, I appreciate what you’re saying.

  4. We need some troll spray!

    • billlattpa says:

      I like the trolls! They keep it interesting, and you know you’re doing something right when you piss off people.

      • John McBride says:

        Amen, Troll do indeed keep it interesting. Some of the beeter writing I have ever read, or done for that matter, was in response to trolls. Keep it up Bill….and if those publishers are still looking for a writer to add to their stable…er…I mean staff, send them my way….LOL.

      • billlattpa says:

        The peak happened last November, I actually had 3 different offers in one month. There was one that was very tempting, and I almost wish I took it, but at this point I don’t want to be obligated to anything. My day job is bad enough.

  5. bloksav says:

    If you could do it freelance and make a buck or two I would go for it. My problem would be the concept of having to obey deadlines and maybe writing something while not in the mood for it.

    The thing about adding ads to your page I am a bit more uncertain of.
    I have considered trying it on my own blog, just to test if it really does generate any money, and if so – how much.
    I have tried to search the Net for information on how much one could reasonably expect to receive, but it is all very fuzzy. ranging from thousands of dollars to nothing. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but if it only generates in the range of 2-3 $ per month, then I wouldn’t bother and there is also the risk that people will stop visiting the blog because it becomes too “commercial”.

    In a way it could be fun to make the test, and then later being able to write about it. Sort of myth busting. But on the other hand I think I am better at myth busting with horse based stain.


    • billlattpa says:

      The most tempting offer was from a company that offered to give me free tools if I used them and wrote an honest review of what I liked and didn’t like. They also said that if they had used the review I wrote on their web page they would pay me for the article. The problem was that at the time we had a close family member who was seriously ill and I just couldn’t commit to anything. What really held me back was the fact that the tools weren’t something that I used often, and I could see myself making projects just so I could use the tools that they sent. If I were to use one of the tools just in the natural course of woodworking that would be one thing, but I didn’t want to force myself to use a tool just because I was supposed to write a review for it.

      If I got that offer today I would probably take it, but at the time it just wasn’t going to work. I had another offer to place ads on my blog and I would just get paid for the amount of hits on the ad. I guessed that I could make between $30-$50 per month on a good month, which isn’t not bad for doing nothing, but once again I didn’t want to have to commit to writing a certain amount of posts per month.

      For the past month or so I’ve been very busy with lots of different projects around the house, with my daughters school and after school projects, and with Valley Forge Park. If things kind of settle down and I once again get some offers, I think I may actually accept.


      • bloksav says:

        Perhaps you could contact that particular company again, and ask them if they are still interested?
        I would be honest with them and explain that you probably don’t use all their types of tools, so you would have a hard time writing an honest review of all of them.
        Some of the tool reviews I have read on companies’ home pages are a couple of years old. So it might not make much difference to them if you make a review before some exact date.
        But all this is just guessing from my part.

        Could you perhaps use some of the tools while you volunteer at Valley Forge? That could help if the tools were more carpenter like than joiner like.

        I suggest you go ahead and ask them if they are still interested. The worst thing that could happen is an email where they politely say no thanks.
        And based on your blog I think that you have gotten worse emails than that 🙂

      • billlattpa says:

        I am actually considering contacting them, but first I need to get started on a few projects so I have something worth writing about. This is probably my favorite time of year to woodwork and right now I have almost nothing going on. I need to get some cash together, take a trip to Hearne Hardwoods, and pick up some nice material.

  6. cmdr101 says:

    I am new here so I don’t know what led to the thread above. But I determined a long time ago what retired means is doing what you really want to. So do what you want I will read and learn from you all the others and you can call yourself retired like I did a long time ago.

    • billlattpa says:

      A few months back I had received some offers to get paid for writing a woodworking blog. At the time I just couldn’t accept because of some personal situations that made it tough to juggle. Now, on the other hand, I probably would accept some of those offers if they came around again.
      Unfortunately I’m still 20 years away from retirement, unless I somehow get lucky.

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