Saturday, 4 August 2018

Saturday Ramble

This week I delivered Modelling the Great Western Branchline book onto the printing conveyer belt, and on the kitchen worktop sit two copies of a contract for the next book, the forth in the series, signed, but as yet unsent.

A couple of people have questioned the wisdom of this move. I think the answer is that I enjoy the journey, enjoy the sometime hair-pulling process of stating with a blank sheet of word doc. and turning it into something readable. The detractors mention the money; lets face it you're never going to get rich quick writing toy train books; for me that's not the point. The cash earned just tips into the pot with all the other things I do. The buzz term for this is 'gig economy' as though this is something new. Well I suppose if you've worked in a 9-5 all your life it is, whereas I could have told you about the gig economy at any point in the last thirty eight years as I've worked in nothing else.

For me the whole point of getting out of bed in the morning is to have as much fun as possible and as soon as things don't give me that I'll walk away. Writing an article or book or even building a layout are the same animal as far as I'm concerned, it's the process that drives me on, and as anyone who knows me will confirm, once I've finished a layout I rapidly lose interest in it. Builder not player.

In about four weeks time I start writing Modelling the Welsh Narrow Gauge; there are problems ahead, mainly in the form of product availability - much of the stalwart end of the kit range has retired, paused or is unexplainably just missing. Never mind, finding he work-arounds will be... entertaining. The GWR book will probably hit the shops at around Christmastime by my reckoning, in the meantime something fictional until any other pre-discussed offers firm up.


  1. Interesting point of view. I tried to do a model railway book a few years ago and dropped out as I just couldn't commit to all the work required for a big single project. I'm much happier writing magazine articles. The subject probably didn't help, but it would need to be something I really care about to drag me through the process.

    On the other hand, I LOVE the process of writing fiction. Maybe it's something different from the stuff I normally do, but the plotting, planning and imagination required appeal to me a lot and I'm enjoying the work.

  2. I agree with all your sentiments, Chris. Like you, I've (nearly) always been self-employed - wouldn't have it any other way. I love the freedom to do what I do when I feel like it - or to do sod-all. There may sometimes be a nail-biting famine or feast situation, but every day is interesting. And like Phil, I love writing fiction.

  3. Hi Chris, I enjoyed your Modelling Narrow Gauge in the Smaller Scales, I look forward to to seeing the Great Western one, and will certainly make a point of getting the Welsh narrow Gauge book when it is published. I am not familiar with the process of writing a book, supplying pictures and managing the frustration and pressures that may arise as part of this process. However, I love reading, and often purchase books for ideas, information and as a reference point to a future or on-going project. Although I model/run 16mm narrow gauge I found plenty of ideas in your Narrow Gauge Modelling book that I feel would carry over into the larger scale, I particularly liked the W & L Goods shed! For me scale and period are not a boundary that have to be observed, as there is so much information that can be applied to whatever scale, period, type of modelling that one undertakes. Best wishes with the new book and I am looking forward to reading more!