The Workman, and his tools

“A bad workman ‘allus blames ‘ees tools”

That was a favourite saying of my Dad’s, I think it was probably passed down from him from my Granddad, but by the time I was old enough to remember it, it was Dad who used it, and it’s been a saying that’s always stuck with me for various reasons.

When I was a kid, I’d try and do a job, it didn’t always turn out the way I wanted, and it was so easy to say, “This brush isn’t good enough, the bristles aren’t strong enough for the job!”


It might have been true, but Dad would always come back with that saying, and it drove me bonkers! I was convinced he had patches of dirt literally glued to his specs, he always found a patch of dirt, or a part of the pan I hadn’t cleaned properly!

Eventually I learnt that it’s not so much whether you ‘know’ how to do a job, but how well you know your tools!

Think about it for a minute, ever spent time with a tradie? What’s the first thing they do when they get their pay packet, especially when they’re just finishing the training. Pretty much the first thing they buy is a decent set of tools, the kind that’ll last a lifetime, then they set about learning how each tool performs.

Not just what it’s ‘supposed’ to do, ​but what, with a bit of practice, a real ‘artisan’ or craftsman can achieve!

You know, we writers often talk of our writing being a craft, we get out and we practice the craft, but what happens when we don’t get the results we think we should?

I know what happens with me. Dad’s words “A bad workman ‘allus blames ees tools” rings in my ears, and back to the learning how to use them I go.

So with that thought, I want to issue a challenge to all you writers out there, take time to learn more about your tools, and the best way to do that, is to use them, but use them in a way you haven’t done before, then you’ll get to see them in a new light!.


Leave a comment below, and let me know how you get on.



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