Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Hobby Mojo

Hi folks,

I have a few days of work to go before I start the Easter school holidays and I feel a little bit like that TIE Interceptor in Return of the Jedi. You know the one I mean:

I have three 40K projects that I am working on at the moment, which I am hoping to knock over during the holidays. I have felt a bit of pressure to get them all prepared for painting, but life has just been rolling me in the foam. I find myself looking at them and just going... blaaargh.

We all feel this way from time to time, especially when we put so much energy into the hobbies that we love. When the things that you do for enjoyment aren't bringing you enjoyment anymore, it's time to take a step back and recharge. Here is some advice based on what works for me:

1) Do something else. I am interested in a lot of different gaming systems and I find switching over to something else can give me the break I need. This is one of the reasons Battletech, X-wing and other random games appear on my blog from time to time. If you don't have anything else, it may be time to branch out and try a new game, even if you just dip a toe in.

I just picked up a YT-2400 freighter and a VT-49 Decimator from my FLGS. When I got to the counter I recognised the guy  as a mate I used to train with. He was a little fella back then (but whip fast and damn good), now he is a tank.  I didn't realise it at the time, but he gave me a very kind discount. Thanks Chaddie :-)

Having a non-gaming hobby helps too. I find sailing really blows the cobwebs away as it is such a mentally and physically consuming activity. Martial Arts used to be great too, but life seems to have pushed me away from that path.

I haven't done any of these for a while; I'm not sure that I could land anymore with my busted ankle.

2) Share the love. If you can, give back to your gaming community/friends/family. When I am sick of modelling/painting for myself, I find that making something for a friend is like hitting the restart button. Teaching a skill, or learning a new one, seems to have the same affect; you are changing the dynamic of the exercise so that the focus is not on you for a while. It feels good ;-)

Introducing my kids to modelling has also been highly enjoyable and edifying. With my son, the focus has been train sets, whilst my daughter is really starting to get into Lego. Watching the way that their imagination and creativity unfolds helps me to appreciate my own opportunities for artistic expression.

3) Do something frivolous. Sometimes, I experience a disproportionate amount of joy working on frivolous things. I have a couple of projects that are great fun to work on, simply because there is no pressure to complete or present them. When I find myself saying "But I don't have time for things like that! [gnashing of teeth]" I know I am taking things too seriously. I find little terrain projects and objective markers fit this category nicely. For example, I have a pack of Velociraptors I am tinkering with at the moment, to represent a particularly dangerous patch of jungle terrain...

Something frivolous.

Interestingly, publishing a blog ticks a lot of these boxes. It is definitely a form of creative expression, in which we expose our skills and foibles to the largest possible audience. We learn and share with other enthusiasts who represent a broad spectrum of skill and commitment. Dropping the odd humorous article or scenario on your readers is also great fun. Unfortunately, running a blog can also put pressure on us to perform and deliver content. As an extension of the hobby itself, when the fun just isn't funny anymore, it is time to take a step back and remember why we started doing all of this in the first place:

We are creative, relational people, looking for something inherently different to do.

If we are feeling flat, exercising those characteristics in novel ways can help us get our mojo back. Now, I'm off to paint more snakes... blaaargh.

See you across the table,