Now, I'm the first person who will admit that a firm deadline is a wonderful motivator. In fact, I've used many deadlines in the past to get projects not only off the ground, but finished on time and ready for a tournament. I'm happy with what I've turned out because of said deadlines, and will continue to set deadlines for myself in the future.
Unfortunately, many times in the past I've come to dread those deadlines. Seeing my hobby as more of a harsh commitment than something that I'm supposed to enjoy. Is there a line we can draw? How do we know where to draw that line?
How do we keep our hobby from turning into a second job?
I know this seems like an oddly-timed article considering my relative silence for the past two weeks. I've had some long hours at work, my boy starting school for the first time, and an illustration opportunity come my way at the end of July that have all been taking up much of my time. Coincidentally, that actually leads into my first point on how to keep the hobby from turning into us punching a clock for toy soldiers...
Realize What's Important
Family, friends, and actual commitments that you make to people are all more important than slapping paint of plastic figures. I know this one should go without saying, but I feel it's worth mentioning. I'm not saying that in order to meet a deadline you placed on yourself, you shouldn't give up a night out with the guys or girls, that can happen, I know. What I mean by this is don't closet yourself away and ignore family and friends to paint your toys. Heck, sleep is more important than your hobby even, trust me. There have been too many times in the past where I've forced sleep deprivation to be able to finish an army for tournaments, and your health is just not worth that. If you're on more of a first name basis with the commander of your army rather than your boy or girlfriend, you need to take a step back and read this section again.
To those of you who know me personally...no, I'm not being hypocritical here. I have an issue with this and my hobby at times, I realize this. If many of you would be honest with yourselves, you would admit this too. I know when Adepticon is every year, and typically I know exactly what I want to do and what it will take to do it 9-ish months ahead of time. So why have I pushed it to the wire for so many times?! I made a promise to my wife that this last year was the last time, as it just takes too much time away from everything to try and cram it all in at the end. Te better you plan and manage your time, the more enjoyable said time will be.
Variety is the Spice of Life
When you've got ten million Skaven to paint, you begin to hate the color brown. Yes Kevin, I'm using your insane, horde-loving self as the basis for this point. This is when it is very possible, and probable, that your labor of love will just turn into a straight labor. You'll begin to slow down and dread opening that fifth bottle of the same color paint for the tenth week in a row. Instead, plan your time accordingly and intersperse some other small projects inside your large one, paint or convert something completely different, and those rats may not seem so bad once you get back to them. Painting the Inquisitor Warband actually showed me this on a small scale, even. With there being barely no repetition in the models except for the Storm Troopers, I was able to keep a fresh outlook and truly enjoy each figure because there was so much different in each one.
Folks, if you leave work for the day with the mindset of having to go home and work, and all you are doing is painting models, there's the indicator that you need to back off form your paints and figures and take a breather. If you aren't enjoying this hobby, then it's not worth doing.