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Chris Tomlin

How do you guys deal with hobby burnout/overload?

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Chris,

I suffer from this a lot.  I'm just coming out of an incredible Adepticon weekend and I am also trying to bottle up that enthusiasm to release as needed but find myself wanting to bite off more than I can chew at every turn.

One of the best things I've done is to simply speed paint an army.  Ya it's not going to be the highest standard you can produce.  But, it gets you something new and refreshing to monkey with and you can always bump it up levels at a later date. 

Highly recommended to get that 'satisfaction' of completing a project. 

Anyways, hope you find the secret sauce you're looking for.

Cheers!
Domus

 

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12 hours ago, Chris Tomlin said:

The Black Sun

Woah, long time dude. Heya from the Dnet days!

Not that I'm close to your level of painting, but it's been a long time since I've experienced burnout. In fact it was getting my CoS army ready in 3 days for a tournament.. so, so many years ago. I had to put my stuff away, but since I have so many hobbies it wasn't much for me to do some other stuff while I developed the desire to paint.

Personally, my issue is not painting too much it's accumulating too many models and looking at the sea of gray covering my tiny office. My girlfriend gets very annoyed about the Tyranid infestation that has taken over over 70% of this shared office space. I had to put some of nearly all away, pretty sure that was advice from either a Venturella or Tabletop Minions video which was most helpful so I didn't feel as overwhelmed. I look at my paintjobs after so many years and see others and it makes me feel like total pooh, so I stop painting for quite awhile.  :( I still can't get motivated to paint sometimes, but having small squads in sight makes me want to at least model them.

Really though dude, definitely sounds like you have too much on the plate and given your workload is higher you should chill and step back like you suggested. Nice to see you around these parts, though!

 

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Hard narcotics, abundant alcohol and blood rituals tend to stave off the worst of it in my case. However, if I find myself becoming distracted or burned out I let those feelings flow and/or follow them to wherever they may go. This is a hobby, not a jobby, it should be smooth and stress free. If it becomes hard and stressful, a change in diet might be in order. Apologies for letting my metaphors sprout legs and run away with themselves. Take a break man. The old world ain't going anywhere... I mean Warhammer. Warhammer isn't going anywhere. 

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Perhaps reading the book "5 hour work week" by Tim Ferris would help.

 I think this book could help alleviate burnout issues by talking alot about effective hobby time vs ineffective hobby time. To me its a matter of discipline, goal setting and running a marathon over sprinting.

 

If i paint 2 times a week for 2 hours a session, i get more armies painted then attempting to paint every day for 2 weeks and burning out. 

If i set the goal to paint a single box at a time before buying the next box utilizing self discipline then i find i have no "unpainted mass of troops" that makes me feel stressed. 

If i set the goal to play an army of Fyreslayers by X tournament date, then I think about how many models and how long I have to complete that goal. Once I start this goal, no othe purchases are to be made until my goal is achieved. 

This is how I approach my hobby time and it has worked really well for me so far. I sold my masses of unpainted figures and impulse buys in order to start this hobby again :)

EDIT: I talked alot about discipline , there was a video by Terry Crews thats pretty quick to digest on this topic that might help with that, i think it helped me think of discipline differently. 

https://youtu.be/kpNbUN2_ebo

 

Edited by Rollcage
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Try having kids. Not just kidnapping some but your own ones, that you have to feed & clothe and entertain and generally look after. Bloody time-sinks. Anyway...

I don't suffer hobby burn out very often despite being an incessant hobbiest so must mean I've found something that works for me. 

1. Always have a fully painted army available for any systems you play, never sell out completely. 

This means you can game without the pressure of having to paint for an event. 

2. Don't restrict yourself to a single army project. AoS is great for this, you can do a unit here or there to bolt together as a single force. Obviously depends on your GA of choice  death & destruction you'll struggle.

3. Paint what you want when you feel like it. This year I've painted order, death, chaos & destruction units & guildball. And this has been quite a focussed year for me so far. 

4. You don't have to paint everything to the same standard. I paint some armies to a tabletop standard and generally paint my skirmish games to a far greater level. 

5. Paint models just for painting them. This more than anything is what keeps me ticking along. If everything is for the next army & 'chasing the meta' then it's not fun. I have been working on a GUO that I pick up and add to every so often over the last 3 months. I already have one so don't see why I'd ever need it but it's a lovely model and I'm enjoying doing it. 

6. Consider your work/life balance. Is 2 podcasts a sensible use of your time? Do you enjoy it enough to make doing both better than what else you could do with your time? What about other activities, I'm quite bad for not really doing anything else at the moment but I have a bunch of other things I like to do that could replace some wargames time if I'm not loving it. 

In short, don't force yourself to do something you should enjoy and turn it into a chore/unpaid job, that only creates resentment and will sour it for you. 

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4 hours ago, Fr0 said:

Personally, my issue is not painting too much it's accumulating too many models and looking at the sea of gray covering my tiny office. My girlfriend gets very annoyed about the Tyranid infestation that has taken over over 70% of this shared office space. I had to put some of nearly all away, pretty sure that was advice from either a Venturella or Tabletop Minions video which was most helpful so I didn't feel as overwhelmed. I look at my paintjobs after so many years and see others and it makes me feel like total pooh, so I stop painting for quite awhile.  :( I still can't get motivated to paint sometimes, but having small squads in sight makes me want to at least model them

Last year I was lucky enough to go to the HH Weekender and sat in one of the hobby demos that Mark Bedford presented on painting armies.  The biggest bit of advise he gave is to hide away all of your unpainted models.  There's nothing as demoralising as painting up a unit, placing it on a shelf, looking at the venerable mountain of grey and realising that you've got at least a decades worth of painting so what's the point in bothering...  Your painted models should take pride of place rather than what you've got unpainted :)  Mark also said to break units up into small blocks of five (he puts them on a baton) and batch paint one colour, but always push yourself to finish off that block before stopping.  That way you don't ever come back to a half finished unit, sigh and realise you need to continue with the same colour you were doing last night.

Motivation to paint is really weird and I find I've got at most a 5~6 month attention span, after which I need to paint something different.

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I think everyone else has pretty much said what I would suggest.

 

I have many experiences of hobby overload / burnout / fatigue whether it be from Warhammer to various time intensive video games (looking at you WoW!). Trying to plough on through this burnout will just make you stressed and irritated about the hobby and can cause you to make drastic and reactive decisions about your hobby future.

My methods for dealing with this burnout is just to get away from it. Spend some quality time with the missus, catch up on some tv / film, go for a walk somewhere. Just do anything to wind down and give your brain some time to think about something else.

After a couple of days / a week, something hobby related will catch your eye, or the start of an army list will start to build in your head. Let this interest slowly build on you and eventually you will be back in love with the hobby again.

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Something similar happened to me a few years back. I was running a league, a campaign and several tournaments. Which led me to fall back on my actual playing and painting time deadlines I had set for myself (I wanted to bring X army to Y event).

I had to take a hobby holiday, get back to playing casual games with friends rather than just events and paint what you want to paint. Find back the joy of actually playing for fun.

Try another game. Board games that require no hobby preparation, use your AoS minis on KoW trays, play oldhammer or 9th age with your AoS minis (I was going to say Xwing but you don't want to get sucked by that hobby blackhole).

Once back from hobby detox set realistic deadlines for everything. I know the new-shiny-new effect is hard to resist, but once you realise your painting queue is denominated in years you will realise when too much is too much. You don't have to attend every event or own every army. Your pocket and RL will appreciate the change.

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I tend to experience peaks and troughs with this hobby all the time. i go through a period of serveral months were as soon as i finish work im in my hobby room and painting non stop every day and loving every second of it. The past few weeks however i found if difficult to even make the effort to throw a couple of base layers on some new models. finding that i am currently in a video gaming mood. come summer ill proberbly be wanting to do something completely outdoors with the increase in daylight hours. But inevitably ill always cycle back to it again. by which time there will be loads of new stuff to choose from. Ive been in my painting slump since before Arcanites had even been displayed and im only just starting to come out of it with the new duardin range soon to hit!

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19 hours ago, Chris Tomlin said:

I think the sensible choice is probably just to take Ironjawz to SCGT and spend April doing other things!

With everything you have going on, this does sound like the sensible choice. A lot of people will be bringing something new to SCGT and the fact you know them inside out, you should probably still do well in the standings. They are also painted to a really high standard which will help. 

To answer your question of what to do with hobby burnout, the only thing you can do is to prioritise what you are enjoying the most at the time. I think one of the worst things you could do when feeling hobby burnout is to have those late nights painting and maybe taking something that you are not happy with.
I'm feeling a bit burnt out painting my Ironjawz after just cramming in a whole bunch of painting into a small amount of time, so I am going to relax by painting a unit of 40K for this new Necromunda game to give me something different to do hobby wise.

I think most of the daily / weekly podcasts take a break every once in a while. You don't make a living off it at the end of the day and as much as I enjoy the podcast, you gotta recharge those batteries when they run out. 

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For painting related burnout, I try and have multiple different systems on the go. I get bored of Stormcast metallic, I go paint some Malifaux Neverborn or Gremlins, I get bored of people painting, I switch to my Dropzone/fleet stuff. It helps that I haven't got a comp to aim for currently! I'll be taking Stormcast to something this year, so I try and hop into those more than most, and break up the units with character work. 

I have a small child so don't get to game a huge amount at the moment which is frustrating, so I tend to spend at least an hour or two listening to podcasts during my commute. I find this helps with the frustration in not actually getting to roll dice, especially with the more 'social' podcasts like Sigbrah, as I enjoy the social side the most when gaming.  

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I'll usually just chuck on The Black Sun, that gets my hobby juices flowing. :P 

Edited by Olincay
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I figured out that the two things I love about the hobby is: first the artistic aspect, secondly is the fiction aspect. Some people tend to do a complete U-turn, which I understand and is great, I tend to just shift gears from painting figures to spend more time at my artwork (paintings and etchings mostly), often times etchings where I do political satire. This helps to keep me stimulated in the same way, but have a completely different outcome of production. Since you're doing podcasts and like to talk about things, perhaps find another outlet of conversation. Grab a beer with some friends and talk about whatever you guys also like, football, brexit, the fact that our contry on the other side of the atlantic is going to ******, go see a movie and talk about it afterwards.

Just a few suggestions that tend to work for me. It seems like your life is truly surrounded by the hobby, and all of the highs you get from running tournaments leaves you with a natural downward mental spiral afterwards. It is completely natural to feel that way, similar to coming down from a high of any other sort. Perhaps you can also try to delegate some work to others? I'm sure you have friends that would love to help out once of twice instead of playing (or do both). If not, perhaps reconsider your friends ;).

Good Luck, and I hope you find your way back soon!

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Afternoon all,

Thanks for the replies, they are all really good and helpful in their own way with plenty of decent advice to be had. Hopefully there's lots to take for others and not just myself. I would suggest that some of the advices are worthwhile as a preventative measure to stop the overload.

I also appreciate all the comments regarding the podcasts. In lieu of anything else, it is solely the enjoyment of others that makes doing them worthwhile, so it does mean a lot that people are liking them. I think for me, the content I am putting out is at its best and most frequent, but it is hard work as a result.

One thing that came up a few times above is life outside the hobby, comments such as this;

4 minutes ago, Lysandestolpe said:

Since you're doing podcasts and like to talk about things, perhaps find another outlet of conversation. Grab a beer with some friends and talk about whatever you guys also like, football, brexit, the fact that our contry on the other side of the atlantic is going to ******, go see a movie and talk about it afterwards.

Just a few suggestions that tend to work for me. It seems like your life is truly surrounded by the hobby, and all of the highs you get from running tournaments leaves you with a natural downward mental spiral afterwards. It is completely natural to feel that way, similar to coming down from a high of any other sort. Perhaps you can also try to delegate some work to others? I'm sure you have friends that would love to help out once of twice instead of playing (or do both). If not, perhaps reconsider your friends ;).

Good Luck, and I hope you find your way back soon!

I do completely agree with this kind of thing for sure. However, I am lucky enough to have a great/busy social life, with an awesome fiancée and lots of friends. Whilst I do spend an awful lot of time doing hobby related stuff, I am always doing other things as well, which probably adds to the burnout factor...in reality, when you throw work, money etc into the mix, it's probably more of a life overload if I'm honest!

There has definitely been a toll taken after the weekend just passed. Whilst I perhaps don't often come across as a giving person it's probably not always the case. I just kinda feel like I've run out at present...of what I'm not entirely sure haha!

Anyway, other than the odd post, tweet and text I have decided to "go dark" this week and possibly next. Try not to worry about anything that, in reality, actually doesn't matter whatsoever! Being so heavily invested in something can have the adverse effect of making you overly subscribe to its importance I think.

Sorry I can't reply to every post here individually, I'd really like to. Perhaps when work calms down a bit I'll get a moment to do so. But they are all really appreciated. Thanks for letting me use this as an outlet to vent a little, I'm sure it helps in it's own way even if I am just spouting nonsense!!

Have fun,
Chris x

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Firstly, I'm a big fan of both shows you work on and look forward to every new episode; It's obvious you do it for pure enjoyment and no personal gain however, I know it can still be draining and sometimes feel like a thankless task. So I just wanted to start out by saying Thank You for what you do.

I understand the feeling of hobby fatigue. Last year I painted over 4000 points of Bloodbound/Daemons, 1000 of which was in a mad dash for a tournament. Afterwards, I didn't even want to look at any paint for 3 weeks! What I discovered personally was that: if it feels like a chore, don't do it; So now I only hobby when I want to and amongst a few different things. I just came back from Adepticon and I really want to make some terrain and assemble a Death army so I'm alternating between them and it's keeping it fresh. 

Also, I've noticed that my stress level before tournaments has been much lower now that I have one finished army. If it looks like I don't have enough time to get a new army together before a tournament without killing myself, I just take my Bloodbound. They're fun, I know the army, and I can focus on the games and the people instead. Just my two cents.

Bottom line, from everything you do for yourself and the community, you deserve a break if you want it. If you don't want a break, just hobby on whatever you want, even if it isn't competitive or even related to warhammer!

Best of luck, man.

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So easy to help you: Stop doing anything in this hobby for 4 weeks. Then watch a cool fantasy film like Lord of the Rings etc. Finally come back, find out what happened in the meantime and start a new army ;)

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Taking a break and/or trying something new are really the best ways to reignite your motivation and passion for the hobby.

I'm the sort of person who takes great interest in some new subject and really gets immersed in it to the point of obsession.  So when it comes to gaming, if I get turned on to a game I haven't played before (or a new way to play one I used to play), I go all in - I spend hours every day painting, reading novels, cruising forums... I'll do this for a few weeks or months until something else catches my fancy, and then I'll devote all my spare time and attention to that.

It may come across as fickle to people who don't know me very well, but the truth is, I'm not leaving anything behind, I'm just setting it aside for the moment.  Eventually I come back around to my old interests.  For instance, I had to sell nearly all my 40K stuff a couple years back when I was out of work, but when Kill Team came out, it was the catalyst to begin working on a team that eventually became part of an entire demi-company that I'm working on.  I've played Blood Bowl since the very beginning, and when GW re-released it I bought everything that I could (except for the Winter Pitch that sold out and the FW stuff).  I bought a couple third-party teams as well.  I saw a Warmachine MkIII battlegroup kit in my FLGS and that led me to touch up the models I still had and re-purchase the army I'd sold years ago.

So basically, I have a few different irons in the fire at all times.  On my painting desk there's a little bit of stuff from four different games (AoS, 40K, WMH and Blood Bowl).  When I get bored of working on one project I switch to another.  When I'm tired of painting, I play a video game or read.  I don't feel guilty if I decide not to pick up a brush for a week, because I think it's important to take a rest from time to time and switch things up to avoid becoming totally sick of the whole thing.

If it ever started to feel like a grind, I'd likely have quit the whole thing 30 years ago.

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