Ahhh the sun has emerged in Blighty and my Smarch hibernation is at an end. Thankfully, April has already been a good month for gaming, last weekend I GM'd a new Old West RPG campaign which saw Scipio play an inebriate. I'm not going to comment on how much of a stretch that might be.
|"Lousy Smarch weather..."|
That said, following the proper tradition, my New Year's Resolutions have been roundly forgotten, pushed to the back of the drawer like that slightly awkward Christmas jumper with your aunty's face on that she decided would be an appropriate gift.
This was mostly meant to be an "I'm-still-here-and-I'm-blogging-(honest)" post, and a "sorry-I've-not-been-online-at-all-and-commented-on-your-wonderful-blogs". I've got a lot of catching up to do.
I've been musing about about this hobby lark lately, and particularly the phenomenon of "burnout" - and consider a few ways to prevent or minimise it.
A bit of burnout
I've managed to have my annual burnout a bit too early and I've not even managed to get much done leading up to it. A six week break from doing pretty much anything wargames related, bar painting the scratchbuilt TARDIS definitely helped.
|Obligatory stock image. If only I could juggle.|
Now, Scipio is a prolific painter and can finish projects in the blink of an eye. And that's only partly because he can often paint at work (git). He's so well organised that he would make the Prussians look like a bloody shambles. Sadly, no matter how hard I try I can't be that organised and I can't keep up, and instead leave swathes of half-finished projects in his wake. Rather than just throwing in the towel, I started thinking what I could do differently.
Organise your hobby space and get the Right tools
Many of us do not have the room for a dedicated wargaming area, even just for painting or model building etc. The small desk I do have for this purpose is littered with finished models, half-finished models, and models still on sprues. Although I have a reasonably organised bitz box, and my terrain building stuff is vaguely organised my paints are chucked into one box and my paintbrushes old and new are in one pot. This has annoyed me for a while.
I've always said that taking the time to invest in the right tools, even cheap ones, makes a HUGE difference to he final product. They definitely helped my terrain building. Similarly, just buying a cheap palette is what allowed me to make half-decent progress in improving my painting.
So, with both of these points in mind, I've ordered one of these from HobbyZone... a HobbyZone Professional Paint Station (despite being of firmly amateur status).
|The HobbyZone Professional Paint Station, image courtesy of Chest of Colors|
At only £25, I don't think you can complain about what you get for your money. I'll do a quick a review when it arrives, but Chest of Colors already has this superb review already. Sounds spot on.
As the photo shows, this allows just the right level of organisation for me, from paints, powders, water pots, brushes and other tools - why didn't I get this before. It also allows a clear hobby space.
Put miniatures away. One project on the table at a time
Perhaps a bigger obstacle is the fact that my desk is filled with miniatures. Not only does this make painting impractical as there is physically little space, but there's also a constant reminder of how much stuff I have to build, convert and paint. It also means the finished work gets lost in the mass and you don't really get the sense of achievement you should. There's still the same amount of miniatures as there were before.
Solution: Bite the bullet and buy carry cases. Sort the unfinished from the finished and have no more than 5 miniatures on the table at once. Nothing else goes on the table till they're finished.
It's not work
This is a hobby. This is a hobby. This is a hobby. A very useful mantra I find, and one that I'm going to start saying even more. As a hobby it's how we choose to spend much of our (often sparse) free time. It's meant to be fun. If it's not fun, then it's not a hobby. I'm not saying it should be easy, I think almost all of us love the challenges we get from our chosen pastime, but that's the point - it should be enjoyable. If it's starting to feel like a chore, put it down and go back to it later.
Do what you enjoy
|Bloody fun to build.. Like hobbies should be.|
Although it's a social hobby, most of us still spend more time building, painting etc. than actually gaming. That is as much the hobby as the gaming.
Remember why you do it
There's a reason why all of us got into this and more importantly why we carry on doing it. Personally, I love the creative outlet (I realise I'm bordering on sounding like a self help book). So why do anything that doesn't fit that reason.
Do something new
|My "something new" for a rainy day|
Over to you
So how do you keep motivated? How do you stop the burnout and keep things fresh? Comments on a postcard! (or in the designated comments section below I suppose).
Next time on DYHAF...
Part 2 of Freeway Fighter will be up next Thursday and will continue until the character snuffs it or I actually manage to complete the book. I have a feeling I know which will happen first.