Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trying to be good

I thought I’d reflect on my progress, or lack of progress, on my varying modelling projects and on why I don't seem to spend as much time relaxing with my modelling as I should.

I should warn you that  Jane and I have just spent 8 weeks doing Sarah Edelman's course Change your Thinking at CCE (which we liked allot) so there may be a bit of babble in this post.

One of the things SE is challenging us to do is to challenge non—productive thinking patterns such as mind reading, awfulness, catastrophising, black and white thinking and the terrible “shoulds”. The shoulds run like this I should be witty; I should be charming; I should be ….Of course I should be a good modeller, my models should be up there with the high quality models seen in various magazines and my model railway should be at least as good as Bowen Creek. Preferably my models should be scale broad gauge to fine scale standards.

Predictably they are not. I reflected on this when I realised I had two RY wagons with different sides instead of 1 RY with  hook catches and one with barn catches. My reaction was to stop modelling for a few weeks while I reflected on the awfulness of this error. People will know and think I am a terrible modeller who cannot even read Steam Era Models excellent instructions correctly. Whereas I should be a good as say James Brook, or James McInerney or Justin Moy or Grahame Brown or…

In fact, I have absorbed the ideology of the modelling elite probably through an early encounter with the Model Railway Journal and the high quality of the models therein. It is good to read about other models and modelling to see what’s going on and to develop an appreciation of things but not everyone can reach such high standards nor – and this is important, is it necessary to reach those standards to enjoy modelling.  

For me there is an enjoyment in battling with the models to get them completed and this does require skills which are learned from actually doing rather than endless reading about how to do things. Moreover they are simple mechanical skills which like all such skills develop as they are used and you remember so that basic operations become fairly automatic. Its rather like exercising in the gym. So the more modelling you do the better you are at doing it. Stopping because of an error means your skills get rusty and out of practice.

But it is hard for me to start because of the shoulds - I should be prepared, I should have the right tools (I always feel I need better tools), I should do more research (a big diversion this one) and so on. This results in time slipping away and nothing much getting done. I wonder how many others are like this or have other mental blocks to overcome.

Getting struck into the models makes me feel relaxed and I get a sense of achievement with each stage completed (or part retrieved from the carpet). Overcoming the self-inflicted pressure to be good makes me better able to achieve the goal of relaxing with model railways.  

1 comment:

James McInerney said...

Thinking laterally, you don't have two RY wagons incorrectly assembled, you have four RY wagons, two of each type, depending on which side is facing the viewer... all that is needed is to have each side appropriately numbered... ;)

Post a Comment