Sunday, June 24, 2007

Plumbers Versus Writers

When I became a plumbing contractor I had no skills but I had knowledge. When I became a writer, I had skills but no knowledge. (Carma Dutra)

I have been a plumbing contractor for 25 years and I have been a writer for 6 months...professionally speaking that is. Following are some similarities between plumbing and writing.

Plumbers are specialists. Plumbers apprentice for numerous years before being recognized as a journeyman plumber. Plumbers are the health of the nation.

Writers are specialists and apprentice their craft by attending workshops and submitting oodles of proposals for a lot of years before being recognized and published.

Scores of plumbing contractors own their own business and service customers.

Countless writers own their business and work for clients.

What about image? Not all writers are as well known as Stephen King and the fickle public tends to discount you as a professional if you’re not on the top 10 sellers list.

You have heard about the infamous “Plumber’s crack” which is the image the world envisions when thinking of plumbers (thanks to the media)

The price that a writer or a plumber charges for their work is exorbitant if you believe the non-professional. There are numerous people who think a writer or a plumber can work for minimal wage?

In order to have work approved and accepted, plumbers submit their work to an inspector while a writer submits book proposals to editors in anticipation of approval and acceptance.

There are obvious differences. Plumbers have to crawl under houses; fight their way through cob webs, wrestle with black widows and bypass rats. They also clean roots and other paraphernalia from sewers and toilets. Their tools turn black and become crusted with gunk.

A writer does not need to undergo this type of “hands-on” experience. A stroke of the key board will suffice and replicate these experiences from the comfort of their home or office.

What’s it all about Alfie? Commitment, desire, pride, and work ethics. What other analogies can you come up with? Are you committed to yourself?

Over at Michelle Cepeda has a great analogy. She had me laughing.

Write it down,



  1. I like your analogy.

    I think it helps to have a field that you have more expereince in, and use that to fuel your confidence.


    Sylvia C.

  2. Thanks for the props! I like the approach you took here. The entire time I was thinking how much more money plumbers make. I don't think I want to encounter rats and gunk though. I've seen my brother's tools. Ewww.

    I'm going to go and brainstorm some more analogies now. I like yours a lot.

  3. Comparing is a good way to build confidence if you have seen some success in one of your chosen fields.

    I never had to build the plumbing business because it was always there and now I am building a writing business which is quite different. So having been in business before is a huge plus for me.

  4. I was so excited to see your blog and to see that there is another Carma out there. I'm a Carma from Michigan and love your writing.


  5. Michelle, I know plumbers can make a lot of money if they are working for someone else. :) The government and insurances get most of the money.

    I love analogies because in my opinion they are a great way to teach. I will be hoping over to see you soon.

  6. Hi Carma,
    Thank you for stopping by. You have very interesting stories on you blog.