I spend too much time lurking around on different forums. Of all the things I see in the way of conversations, I notice a lot of pain in people’s experience of the hobby.

By pain I mean the questions people have that center on things they don’t know how to do, find, or otherwise resolve. Things like how to fit more trackplan into their space. How to find a piece of information. How to make a bunch of disparate components work together, whether they were ever intended to or not. How do I do this or who makes that? Follow any online forum or group for a short period and you’ll see what I mean. It’s hard to keep up with it all.

Part of this is newcomer syndrome. Novice modelers simply don’t have the experience or knowledge base to draw from that long time veterans do. Another possibility could be there’s too much information to keep track of.

There’s a well documented phenomena of how people’s ability to choose decreases radically when they are given too many options to pick from. Regardless of the modeling scale, have we now reached a point of such abundance that it’s no longer possible to adequately process the info?

Maybe.

It could be too that given this abundance of choice, our expectations are so far out of whack given the twenty-first century realities surrounding our time and other resources, that we simply aren’t having the experience of the hobby we’ve been promised. Maybe the unspoken promise was all about how easy the hobby could be, or about how basement space is a terrible thing to “waste”, so you needed to fill it as quickly as possible before the rest of the family laid claim to some of it. I honestly don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud here.

From my own experience I’ve learned what works for me where the hobby is concerned. It has been a bumpy, frustrating road, full of pot holes, distracting and expensive side trips and other dead-end paths, played over the span of decades of my adult life. I suspect many others would agree based on their own journeys.

It would be nice if I could have pushed a button and avoided the dead-ends and missteps altogether but, it could also be that I had to go down some of those bumpy rabbit holes and side trips to understand what it was I was ultimately looking for. Many may concur with that thought too.

It could also be that we’ve done a poor job of understanding how the hobby has changed from the so called golden-era of whenever. Again, I don’t have ironclad answers to offer, just wondering aloud to myself and anyone who cares to listen.

While seeking advice and input can result in breakthroughs or increased understanding, in the end, it is your hobby. I can’t tell you how to practice it, or whether another loop of track will bring the satisfaction you’re hoping it will. You have to decide that for yourself. You have to invest in it first in order to receive later. How? By doing your homework about what it is you really want and, by setting priorities that are realistic in terms of what you can bring to the hobby.

On this blog I speak a lot about the joys of certain aspects like scratchbuilding; smaller, simpler layout designs and so on. I’ll continue to promote those thoughts, but unless someone is ready to explore them or open to trying something new, I’m not going to convince anyone no matter how articulate or compelling the case I make may be.

That said, I do think that repeated exposure to new ideas has merit when it is done in a non dogmatic way. Something I need to put a great deal more work into learning. No, I haven’t given up the good fight but, as I said, it’s your hobby. How you practice it and to what degree is entirely up to you.

Have fun folks, however you want to define fun. Understand though that hobby isn’t always as  linear in nature as we would like but, it can be as simple or as infuriating as you make it.

Regards,
Mike