Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Staving Off Hobby Burnout

Since I teach, summer is a real important time for me as it allows me quite a bit of extra paint time to work on commissions.  This is great since teacher pay is absolute crap.  However, I find that I usually run into the proverbial wall at some point about halfway to two thirds of the way through a concentrated time of painting or other hobby related activity.  It is at this point, that I find that I really don't want to finish my work, would rather do just about anything than think about Warhammer 40k, and get plain old lazy.  If you have been in the hobby long, I am sure that you know what I mean. 

Burnout occurs in just about everything we do in life if we aren't careful to regulate ourselves.  It can lead to people giving up on something that they, up to a point, were very committed to.  So, I would like to give a few tips on how to avoid burnout, shorten the period of burnout, and/or get yourself motivated again.

1) Do other things with your time.  As mentioned above, I spend a great amount of my summer time working on commissions.  The demands of meeting deadlines and making sure everything looks great can really be a weight on my shoulders.  That is why I have instituted the "day off".  Basically, this is a day, once or twice a week, in which I am not allowed to paint.  I spend them time hanging out with the wife and son (whom I hang out with regardless) doing something fun with them.  I read a book.  I take a nap.  I watch a movie.  Basically this is a weekly scheduled break from the hobby. Doing something else amidst hobby related stuff keeps your fresh and allows you to work out some of the stress and tension that build up with concentrated hobbying.

2) Take a short-term fast.  Don't touch the hobby for a week or two straight.  This is similar to #1, but for a longer period of time.  I have found that, in many cases, I start to jones for the hobby more after taking a long break from it.  This is good.  It gets you motivated to dive back in.  I find this especially useful after a long tournament experience (army prep/painting, playtesting, actual tournament games).  After spending so much time preparing for a tournament and playing in it, it is nice to take a good break from the hobby to detox and allow your batteries to recharge.

3) Doing something else similiar...but different.  Take up another game for a time.  Play some Warmahordes.  If you don't want to spend excessive amounts of money, try boardgaming or even roleplaying. Most good LGS have a solid crowd of people who can help you get involved in other avenues and who are glad to show you the ropes.  By doing something with a different style, rules, etc. you allow yourself to recharge, while not getting too far away from what really drives you in the hobby. I generally swap between playing 40k and Fantasy.

4) Get inspired.  When I just can't muster the motivation to paint, I look for inspiration. To do so, I try one of two methods.  I either pull out a totally different model than what I'm working on and paint it, usually some spiffy looking hero or HQ model, or I go looking for inspiration.  I check the blog rolls.  I go to I go play a game and take a look at what my buddies are doing.  Most of these get the juices flowing and prep me to take my painting again. 

It isn't a matter of if you burnout or not, but usually when will it arrive.  Everyone reaches their maximum level of saturation and needs a break.  How you handle this event can many time determine whether or not you throw in the towel or keep trucking.  Hopefully, you will find a way to refresh and recharge and then leap back into the fray.

Other articles you might find useful:
Hobby Fervor, Community Understanding, and a Real World Economy
What got you into the game?


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Von said...

's true! If I'm playing a lot, I don't tend to paint as much; if I'm playing less, I paint more. If I'm burning out on a wargame I set up an RPG group or get back on the WoW wagon for a few days; that usually sorts things out very nicely.

Sidney Roundwood said...

Great post and some really practical solutions. I think we have all been in BurnoutVille at some point, so I can certainly share your pain! I agree with all the options, but in particular option 3 Doing something similar...but different). I like to turn to something like boardgames or RPGs when I hit the wall. Very nice blog as well - I had fun going through the older BlogPosts!

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