Inspiration…the morning after.

This will not be inspirational. I don’t do that. Others do. Lots of others do. Thankfully, they do it very well. Right here, I want to say something like “The Hobby” but really the next part is really the moment when someone says something is inspirational. This moment passes into the next, something is still inspirational, and that’s where my question begins:

What motivates?

So, I ask “what” but I think a part of this same question is also how do we calculate the translation of one into the other?

What motivates you to? And how do you motivate yourself?

I’ve been thinking about the exchange of inspiration for motivation. Model railroading’s media is fluent in its promotion of inspiration but not so well-endowed in motivation. Some answers come to mind quite easily so I won’t wear down your attention with a list. If you’ve read this far: “Where does the motivation come from?”

There’s no wrong answer, right?

Categories: How I think

10 replies

  1. Motivation comes from within, Chris.

    • I completely agree Simon.

      For each of us, what provides that motivation or is it as simple as a compulsion or a character trait?


      • In some cases, it is a desire to do better than one’s previous efforts or the achievements of one’s peers/wider hobby. I would class that as a compulsive character trait.
        For other character traits, if I knew that I would be a world famous psychologist and wealthy beyond the dreams of mere avarice…
        The point is, if it comes from within, then the magazines are going to have a hard time finding and stimulating it, so they fall back on driving “novelty through acquisition” rather then enjoyment of making.


      • While I wish I’d read a story about motivation, I doubt I’ll live to see it printed. When I look at work that’s published I often wonder what compels that modeller to produce such work. Sometimes we see a glimpse of what inspires a modellers work but I was thinking inspiration becomes a shopping list that provides a common terminology to relate one body of work to another. In this way, motivation is an extrapolation and an undertaking by the modeller. No doubt he’s drawing on something personal. But what?

        Is it a desire to finish the work? The hobby as a marathon.

        Is it to revisit previous work? The scientific modellers approach.

        No magazine can instruct motivation but for a hobby dependant on it, is there a story there to be shared?


      • Ah. I see where you are coming from.

        Although this may not have been addressed directly, I can think of a couple of examples from MRJ which have come pretty close, these being the exposition on “Flintcombe” by the “East Dorset Gang of Four” and also “Introducing Penhydd” by my very good friend Geoff Forster.

        Worth searching out on the MRJ Index website.


      • Thanks for the conversation. I’ll note those issues of MRJ.

        I suppose there’s layers of motivation too: the motivation to begin the journey and a subsequent motivation to continue.


      • All journeys begin with but a single step, but journeys vary enormously of course. Long and short, straight and meandering, interesting or across a barren wasteland, direct or undirected and everything in between.
        It’s the direct or undirected that is the most interesting, I think: it relates more to that opening inspiration than the others: the inspiration to start.
        I have too many different things I want to achieve, and I flit between them, instead of doing a bit here, a bit there, etc. My problem is that the motivation is too unfocused!

  2. Funny you should bring this up now as I have been thinking a lot about this as I link motivation with focus. I have recently sold off a lot of the prized possessions accumulated over in some cases decades as I came to the conclusion that I was never going to achieve the goal of creating something with it or them and in order to concentrate my motivation would pic one or two areas and concentrate on that so that I a) actually achieved something and b) could play trains.

    As to the question “how do you motivate yourself” I am testing out my 15 minutes a day no matter what, even if that is footalling around on YouTube or using the coumputer for 3D work it’s still hobby related. I am a recovering procrastinator and motivation as Simon says comes from within but imho it can be strengthened or weakened by activity. Good post btw

  3. I can read an entire model railroad press article: benchwork, scenery, rolling stock, and one sentence on operation. Maybe. Or that ‘he’s going to come up with an operating scheme soon’. But nary a sentence on motivation.

    Lots on the control system. Not much on the drive.

    Good to see your blog is doing more than its share to shine the headlight on the subject of motivation!


    • Thanks Eric for chiming in. I appreciate it.
      I too can and do enjoy those articles. I’ll happily read through track plans books for hours. I’ll, the same watching YouTube videos on model trains…
      I regard all of that time, now that I’m thinking about it, as a sort of capacity. It’s an expression of interest; proof that I’m interested in the hobby and specifically a part of it. What is it that gets me out of a place of listening and into a place of acting?
      For example: In the hobby of model railroading we love to popularize the phrase “no one builds kits anymore” so with motivation in mind: why should we?
      I didn’t ask the original question just to figure out why no one builds kits but it’s a readily available example that might help guide the question.

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