'Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans'. So said John Lennon - apparently. It's one of my favourite quotes as it tends to sum up human existence; we are so busy working out what's happing tomorrow that today passes us by. Does this apply to railway modelling? Undoubtedly.
There is an old adage that most keen modellers will have one layout on the exhibition circuit, one in the building and at least one being planned in the head. I fall very much into this trap and while it's good not to walk blindly into the future, sometimes that initial layout gets forgotten and falls into disrepair either in reality or mentally. Which is why I have a reputation for not keeping a layout for long and flogging them off or breaking them up in quite quick order. Is this healthy? Yes it is because it doesn't allow the modelling brain to get bored, but no it isn't because we (I) possibly don't develop a base idea. I don't want to hark on about the good Rev., but most of you will be ahead of me here.
The pace of new RTR releases now is such that the natural pace if building is interrupted. For instance I've had a couple of conversations in the last few days with hardcore narrow gauge modellers who have been tempted by some of the small shiny RTR standard gauge locomotives and are (or may be) building a layout to suit. The interruption is complete and the future planning to justify this purchase takes over the root modelling direction. Once again is this healthy? Because it breaks the staleness of something or do we fall headlong into a scattergun approach to our model making, where we are tempted by a purchase for just long enough to mean that there is a full cupboard and not enough actual main theme - serial modelling adultery. I know that I'm guilty of this.
The side order to this is the 'I must use this up' game which raised it's head here recently (and formed a small poke in the ribs to Phil Parker from me this week. He's unlikely to use the Clayhanger Yard stock again). We have a desire to use the accumulated modelling equipment regardless of there being a desire or a hard plan. Instead of having the idea and the plan first, the direction is driven totally by the 'I don't want to waste this' mentality. The truth is that much of this accumulation was acquired through gift or because it was a bargain and logically should be thrown or sold off to someone who needs it. Is it really a good enough reason to build a layout?