Monday, January 02, 2017

What next in 2017?

What will 2017 bring? If I knew the answer to that, I'd be a rich man. I can however, think out loud about how I'd like this blog to develop. Then you can tell me what you think and perhaps we'll come up with a plan. 

When people talk to me about this blog, the first thing they usually say is along the lines of, "How do you find the time to post every day?"

The answer is I don't know. I am proud of the daily posts but can find it hard to come up with the content required. If I've a project on the go then words are easy to find, but sometimes there are posts that I know are a bit thin, or a little random, but that's what I've got. I have a life, work to do and although my blogging is a spin-off of this, I like to try to keep content aimed at magazines off the web. It's not fair on those who have paid for it, and ultimately pay my wages, to give it away free. At least not in the first instance. 

This rule doesn't apply to model boats, but the resulting article will always be a far tighter and better balanced piece than the collection of blog posts that often act as a virtual notepad to remind me what I did over several months.

Of course this means I need to do stuff for print and stuff for me. That's no different from anyone else who has a job and makes models in their spare time, it's just that I sometimes feel it's all I do. This isn't always a bad thing - magazine readers are very conservative in the things they like to read about (Not GWR 1935? I NEVER want to read that sort of thing etc.) and I like odd-ball projects. They can go on the blog.

I have pondered on restricting posting to weekdays - it's when most of the readers arrive because they are bored at work and sat in front of a computer. Never underestimate the size of the "bored at work" audience, it's massive. For the moment, I'll try and do something at weekends, even if it is home to simpler and sometimes odder posts. 

Another thought is to include more news content. One aspect of MREmag I really enjoyed was the journalism. Getting out and seeing what was happening was great fun and I had the chance to meet up with some interesting people. The question is, on a budget of no money, can I do anything other than report what the manufacturers are saying when it's likely to be everywhere anyway? 

Reviews are another obvious inclusion. Trouble is, I don't buy very much RTR stuff and the more interesting kits and tools sent my way are intended for magazine consumption, so no on-line spoilers please! And I don't think anyone is going to send stuff to a blog like this (If any manufacturers want to prove me wrong, please feel free). There are a million people out there doing the same thing after all. 

Video is another area to look at, but I'm conscious of the production values I'd want to aim at, and the huge amount of time it takes to do a Vlog. I'm no Zoella and am pretty certain you aren't all 12 year old girls who spend all day watching videos on the web. That said, is there more I can do?

Perhaps there are people out there who would like to guest blog occasionally? If you fancy knocking out a couple of hundred words and a picture or two, I'm certainly interested. I could be a great way to plug your own blog, or just get something on-line with no commitment. 

Once thing I need to do is get more organised to achieve more. Taking a part-time job was a step along this path, it's already made me re-think my time management, something my editors will be delighted to hear! To be honest, more organisation generally needs to be a big part of 2017. I have too many part-finished projects along with a huge queue of models I'd like to build. 

For the minute, I'll keep blogging. There will be stuff made and some of it will go wrong as it always has done. Along the way, I hope to be entertaining and sometimes informative. If I'm not, well, you can have your entry fee back...


davee52uk said...

Thank you for all your blog's. Like most others, I'm sure, I'm amazed you put out something every day - even Christmas Day. I would suggest having weekends off.

For myself, your blog's have brought me back to modelling and I now help run a modelling group as well as being part of LWMRS.

Thank you again,

David Evans

Unknown said...

Dear Phil

Thank you for all the modelling content you publish over the year.For a very time poor modeler whose talents are at present renovating a very run down house looking after a large family and being able to cook present me with an awful lot of distractions.
However i have invested time and money into a G gauge layout in the garden so this year hoping to find more time to finally build a viable layout.
My intrests in scale models covers all genres and scales so i find your blog very interesting and informative ...Airfix,Hornby,Keilcraft,Veron, name it ive crashed it, sunk it,or dropped it at some point in my modeling keep up the good work and Happy New Year !!

Anonymous said...

First thank you for your daily blogs.
I do look forward to them on a daily basis (even on a weekend)
I don't really have the time to model anymore with work, family and general life so your blog keeps an interest burning.

11 years... Wonder how long I have been coming here daily? Don't think it's that long but it would be a good number of years.

One suggestion for the weekends could be a throw back to earlier posts, which means although there is the time you need to find them won't be as time consuming as a new post?

Guest blogging would be interesting, doesn't have to be a review it could be someone's home layout, model build, a day in the life of... (Some job or hobby transport related), a trip out on the big or preserved railway. Only thing with that you would have to read through it to ensure it worked on your blog.

Keep up the great work

Paul B. said...

Weekday only posts sound like a good idea to me. Whilst I admire the fact that you post every day it must be difficult at times finding material. At least you haven't resorted to 'wordless Wednesdays' or 'throwback Thursdays', which seem to me to be just posting for the sake of posting when you have nothing to say. (As for 're-blogging', what's that all about?). I do enjoy the Warehouse Wednesday feature though. Maybe I should send you some photos of my workplace.

I'm slightly intrigued by the idea of guest bloggers, a good way of introducing someone to writing up their work perhaps, or sharing some interesting opinions. However it would I feel need to be carefully managed, not everyone on the net should be allowed access to a keyboard...

Reviews are all over the 'net so aren't difficult to find, unless you're looking at something out of the ordinary (obscure waggon kits for example). Cake reviews however are always welcome!

Whichever way you develop this blog, make sure that you enjoy it. Because if you don't get pleasure from writing there's little point in carrying on.

Bernhard Beck said...


I'm based in California, modeling a German prototype. Typical American model railroading is very different from typical German model railroading. Both a very different from the British approach. Nevertheless, and because of that, I very much enjoy your regular posts to continue to widen my horizon. You tend to pick interesting (often challenging) projects that are fun to follow along. I particularly like the side-commentary on the British model railroading scene.
I know how hard it is to both find material for the daily blog posts and write something witty along the way to keep the queue of posts stocked. I tried for daily interesting posts on my own blog and gave up after a week.

Very much appreciate what you are doing here. It's a tough job and a balance.

Keep on rolling in 2017 and Happy New Year.


Jeffrey Showell said...

One of the most valuable aspects of your blog is your attitude of "why don't you have a go?" Back when you used to feature more kit building, I always appreciated your problem-solving ingenuity-- "The part supplied was 2 mm too short, so I..."
While I don't expect you to go on a kit construction binge, some of the same ethos arises when you respond to readers' questions. Encouraging more "Ask Phil" might provide opportunities for you to impart your knowledge, suggest non-obvious solutions and help others in their modeling efforts.

Phil Parker said...

Thanks for all the good feedback.

I should clarify, I don't write a post a day, I set them up to publish on the appropriate day in advance. At the moment I'm only a couple of days ahead but over the bust Panto period, I was working a week and a half ahead just in case I hit problems.

As long as everyone is happy, I'll carry on as before for the moment. I'd like more "Ask Phil's" so perhaps I'll tweak the icon when I get the chance.

Finding material can be interesting. Once side effect of doing this is it forces me to be imaginative. That's useful when you get to go to meetings involving inventing magazine content!

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...


I really don't know how you manage to find the time to do a daily blog even if you do prepare batches at a time and then have them automatically posted. I can sometimes struggle to do one post a month on my Fifteen Flatout blog.

But somehow you manage to find something that will interest me most days. I certainly like the wide variety of subjects. My main hobby interests are railway related but for example I enjoy your stuff about model boats.

I would be sad to see you drop back to weekdays only but after all it is your choice.



Ribbon Art and Photography said...

I'm extremely grateful for the daily postings; your blog entries are always interesting and I love how eclectic it is (a good mix of different types of model making, prototype inspiration, practical techniques). I'm equally impressed you manage daily postings, my own efforts are definitely more slapdash with other pressures, but I reckon giving yourself weekends off would probably help the work/life balance!

I like the idea of 'guest blogs', maybe that could be the weekend slot? Though it might mean more work for you, editing or checking for consistency and so on. I'd also never really thought of the issue of not treading on the metaphorical toes of the magazines you write for by providing 'spoilers' on the blog... if most of what you model on the blog is non-magazine content, your house must be stuffed to the gills with models! I admit I have an image of you sat in something like the warehouse from the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", surrounded by boxes of Airfix kits and part-build locos...