(This is a repost of a blog entry I published January 1, 2012. A year later, I’m really pleased with how I stuck with this resolution and made real progress on my layout. I am reposting to, hopefully, inspire others – and to remind myself to keep at it!)
This year I will…
… not make excuses.
How’s that for a resolution? Despite the evidence to the contrary found on this blog, I spent much of 2011 not building a layout. I was unhappy with my in-progress Maine two-footer and rather than accept the fact that I needed to do something on it or get rid of it and start anew, I waffled. And much of my year was wasted, at least in terms of enjoying my hobby.
Now, the above resolution is not for me – not this year, anyway. I’m doing things. It’s for any other model railway enthusiast to reads this, who finds themselves not getting things done in the hobby, for whatever reason.
The truth is, this hobby can absorb a lot of one’s time an effort – as much as one is willing and able to invest in it. But it doesn’t have to. If you find yourself overwhelmed by projects – either hobby-related or life-related – pare it down.
And don’t worry about how you do it. You don’t have to sell bits of trains you no longer need – you can give them away, or throw them away. It’s a hobby – not an investment – and the time you save that you would otherwise spend agonizing over what to do with your stuff is time you can put to better use.
And another thing: Stop spending all your time on the Internet, talking about what you’re going to do or why you can’t do it.
This sounds odd coming from a guy who is spending a fair bit of time writing about his layout on a blog – but the difference is, I’m writing about things I’ve already done. This is a positive record of my accomplishments. It helps me when I run into a situation in which I feel I’m getting nowhere on the layout, because I can look at this blog and realize that, yes, after all, I am making progress. Big progress. (It also helps me remember what I did so I don’t have to constantly reinvent the (flanged) wheel.)
So here’s a bit of advice: If you find yourself not getting stuff done, start a blog to share your progress with your mates. Then commit to having something new to add to it each week – something that represents progress. Then figure out what you’re going to do to meet that commitment. It doesn’t have to be big: It can be as simple as building a freight car or a structure kit. But it has to be something.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. We learn from our mistakes, too – and this is a hobby, which means there is no “right” way to do things (beyond making sure you don’t injure yourself). For example, if you build some roadbed and it sags – so what? You’ve done something, and learned to not build roadbed that way again. Shore it up. Or tear it out and start over. Make new mistakes (and only new mistakes). Because it’s better than doing nothing.
Here’s one last bit of advice for those needing motivation: Start, or join, a round-robin group. The need to have things for your mates to do when it’s your turn to host a work session will force you to get organized. You’ll enjoy the social aspects of such a collaborative effort. And – hey, look at that! You got something done!
Now stop reading this and draft yourself a plan for what you’re going to do this year. I’m going to go back to building my layout.