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You Have to Do to Succeed

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

– Ira Glass

I have been going back and forth over scale for model railroading for years. When I was a kid my grandfather gave me a lot of HO (1:87.1) trains. He worked in HO and it is, even today, the most popular scale in the US. When we moved to East Texas in fifth grade I wanted to build in N Scale (1:160) because we had no basement.

As interest in model railroading has come and gone over the years I have wavered between HO and N with occasional flights of fancy into S scale, two foot gauge to model Main narrow gage. I have acquired some basic equip in both HO and N, but not started a layout.

Until last night that is. Last night I finally cut a piece of foam core which has sat in my game room for close to two years. It was one 40″x60″ half-inch sheet intended to become the base for an N scale layout 30″x60″. Cross joists 2″ tall have been cut from some of the leftover foam. I will hot glued to the bottom.

Now, I could go on and one abut how my cuts are horribly uneven. My little perfectionist heart hates them and wants me to stop and do it over and over until I do it right.

Of course, I can’t afford another piece of foam core. Well, one, but not enough until I can cut a perfect line with a straight edge. I do not have the resources to do this over and over until it is perfect. I need to accept “good enough for this outing” and move on.

For some reason that is easier to do with a foam core edge that will be covered by some wood trim than it is with a short story. One reason I have trouble finishing any story is halfway through I know in my heart they are crap.

I know the one I have out to magazines isn’t that good. On an intellectual level I know that is okay. Early stories are often not good. The Bradbury Challenge is to write fifty-two stories in fifty-two weeks not because you’ll write fifty-two great stories but because the way to write good ones is to write enough.

Just like the way to build a great layout for your model trains you need to actually build one, no matter how bad, to get yourself started.

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