We've all done it. Be it because we stayed up until 3 am for three months straight getting an army ready for a tournament, played one system over and over again until we bled plastic, metal and resin, or the latest codex release just irked you so badly it made you throw up your hands and scream "Overpowered!" to the heavens. We've all burnt ourselves out on this wonderful hobby we indulge in at one time or another.
Well if you're like me, you've invested a goodly chunk of change into the hobby, no matter what your game system of choice. Every time in the past that I've gotten burnt out on my hobby, inevitably I look at all my models and kits that I put so much effort into, or have yet to even open, and feel like I'm wasting money every week I'm not playing, modeling or painting.
So how do we avoid hobby burn out?
After Adepticon 2010, I didn't even so much as pick up, put together, paint or even look at a miniature for nearly 3 months. I played one local tournament, and that's about it. Why? Because I had spent the previous 3 months staying up until 3 am nightly trying to finish my Centurions for the aforementioned Adepticon. Heck, I finished my Land Raider and Predator in my hotel room the night before the tournament.
Don't look at me like that, we've all done it.
I was so burned out and sleep deprived that I couldn't bring myself to do anything even relating to the hobby. I took a nice, long break that I thought I needed and figured afterwards, I'd pick up right where I left off. The problem was that I lost all momentum for projects. Heck, I had wanted to bring a whole new army to Adepticon in 2011, and compete in the Crystal Brush competition. Neither of which happened, though I did get more play time in at the local shop as the year went on at least.
Now comes 2011, and I'm desperate to figure out how to not let this happen again. I'm tired of wanting to do so much with my hobby and being too tired of doing it to accomplish anything. This is supposed to be fun, dangit!
Here's what worked for me this year:
Having an army already done I could fall back on.
This was a huge load off my shoulders. While I wanted to bring a new army to Adepticon, I didn't have to. The previous year I didn't even have an army done until the night before the tournament. This time I had something, and didn't need to worry. I just updated the Centurions with some new models, and I was ready to go.
2. Variety is the spice of life
To date do far this year I've completed over a half dozen projects from a single conversion to painting an entire army on commission. And ALL of them have been a different experience, with the exception of the updating of my Centurions. Knowing that as I finish my current project, the next one on the horizon is completely different help keep me motivated.
3. Like-minded friends
Having a group that you not only game with, but also model and paint with helps everyone not only stay motivated, but also increases everyone's skill levels. I can't begin to describe how helpful another pair or more of eyes are when working or trying to figure something out.
4. A new spin on things
I took a class at Adepticon this year taught by Mathieu Fontaine on how to paint at a competition level. Wow, did it ever open my eyes not just on competition painting, but painting period! Even on my choice of brush and some paint brands. My wife had to make me take a week off after Adepticon because I was so eager to try out the new things I learned. Learn and advance your skills, it'll excite and motivate you, I guarantee.
5. This blog
I can't begin to express how the writing of this blog, coupled with the support, creative criticism and comments of all of you have helped me avoid hobby burn-out this year. The vast majority of our community in the blogosphere is a for e to be reckoned with, and for that, I thank you.
In the end, everyone's list and ways to avoid burning themselves out on this hobby, or any hobby for that matter, will be different in some way. My main point here is that it is avoidable, we should want to avoid it, and that we can if we try.