Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gimme a break!

For the last twenty-odd years, I have been very committed to the hobby.  Way back when I was a super-involved high-school student, sitting on the ruling council of four different club, I made time to pick up the toy soldiers and play.  When I was a factory worker, spending 12 hours a day breaking my body for a decent paycheck, I still filled my nights with the 'ol paintbrush and space marine routine.  When I signed up for service in the Astartes, I even hobbied at night, in my basement with any number of friends. 

And in all that time, I never understood the whole idea of getting burnt out.  I LOVE my hobby, and I couldn't fathom why other people needed a break.  But that, as everything in life does, changed.

While working the greatest shop in the US, my regional manager gave a meeting point of the 'myth of burnout'.  I became angry with that.  He contended that any person that claimed to be burnt out was just making excuses for not wanting to work anymore.  By this point, I had already painted somewhere in the area of 120 different armies and I was lacking excitement in my hobby anymore.  After all, how many different versions of Warhammer Skaven can a person do before they all just look like rats?  I walked away from that meeting less-than-inspired.

Over the next year or so, I slowed down on the hobby.  I had seven fully painted armies in figure cases next to my bed, had sold or given away six other armies, and still had 14 other armies in various stages of completion.  I didn't feel the need to work at it anymore, and I certainly wasn't as excited as I once was.  But I powered through it and still pumped out at least a new unit every other week, if only just to show my hobby community that I was as involved as I expected them to be.

But I moved back home since then.  I've tried to recruit some gamers to play with me in my garage.  I've even gone to the LGS and thrown down a couple of times.  But it's summer now, my Workshop is 140 degrees of Texas heat, which isn't real comfy for hours of painting.  The gamers at the LGS seem to care little for painting their forces or playing fun, fair games.  And the people that I've tried to recruit don't seem to be into the system at all.  So what am I left with?

Four straight weeks of not wanting to do anything.  I don't want to paint anything; I've done more than my (and a couple others') fair share of that.  I don't want to make up cheezy armies just so I can stand a chance at the LGS (I already have a gazillion trophies, I don't care about winning anymore), and I just can't seem to get excited right now. 

So I've taken the advice I used to offer those people that felt burnout in my community- I took a break.  I haven't touched a single model in weeks.  I haven't picked up a pen and written an army list since June.  And I haven't even really talked about the hobby with my normal circle of hobby buddies, all spread out across the country since the Fourth Great Scourging of GW USA.  All in all, I've been absent from the hobby (and this blog) for weeks, and I don't feel bad about it at all. 

What's the moral of the story?  When you have to force yourself to hobby, it's time to take a break.  When you just don't feel the love, just chill out and find something else to do for awhile.  Much like me, you may find yourself missing the hobby and finally want to do it again.  For me, I'm gonna paint some Empire Spearmen and BA Vanguard vets tonight.  If it weren't for this break, I probably would be selling my stuff off right now out of frustration.  Luckily, I'm wise enough to take that age-old addage to heart:  "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Happy Hobbying!

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