Today, I want to talk about hobby malaise. We all get it to a varying degree and I’m going through it right now. It’s not exactly a funk, but it’s when what you do for fun seems to be making demands on you and that don’t seem right somehow. Basically, it’s when painting isn’t enjoyable.
To paraphrase Burns, the best laid plans of mice and men oft end up as a big pile of unpainted plastic that you hide in a draw and try to ignore. It’s not like I don’t have lots to paint. On the contrary. I have most of the Dark Vengeance Box, my old Emperor’s Children Army to resurrect, a Forgefiend, a Rhino, a bunch of scenery… yeah. But over the last week it has felt like a chore rather than a pleasure and that’s not good.
Like everyone, my day-to-day life is full of malarky ranging from the mildly annoying to the down-right depressing. There are plenty of peaks too, but there are as many troughs. There’s the daily commute, the boring lunches, being sat at my desk staring at a screen for eight or more hours a day, five days a week. When I come home (provided I don’t opt for the pub instead) I want to do something that will help me to relax. For so long, painting, playing and discussing 40k has been a great outlet for me. It’s calming, cathartic and, most crucially, it’s enjoyable. Most of the time.
I don’t know why this week. I could try and analyse it and dig to the root of the issue, but I think that’d be pointless. For one thing, there isn’t really an issue. It hits us all from time to time where the sight of our paints and brushes just makes us think ‘meh’. Maybe its my mind’s way of reconnecting with the real world. I’ve done a few things I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Fixed this, called them, watched that… all because I was not hunched over my paints. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that – a bit more productivity in other areas of my life. And that’s a healthy way to look at it, I hope.
Anyway, what I wanted to talk about, was how to get over it. This is not my first rodeo and over the years, I’ve noted a few tips and trends to help get one out of the malaise. Here’s what I hold to be true…
• Don’t force it – Sitting there forcing yourself to paint will not improve your fondness of the hobby and you might just end up doing a poor job because of it. Step back from it and let it happen again when you’re ready.
• Go outside – We all do it. This self imposed isolation and stuffy rooms, gorging on junk food and ignoring the world beyond the little circle of light that illuminates our efforts. A bit of exercise and fresh air will do you the world of good.
• Enjoy your other passions – We are all deep, multi-facetted humans capable of enjoying more than just one pastime. With that in mind, go and enjoy something else for a while. Whether it’s going to a museum or art gallery, playing football or writing limericks on the walls of public toilets – go do that fro a while.
• Switch up your projects – Monotony does you no favours. If you’re stuck in the middle of a big project, break off and try painting a mini you’ve always wanted to paint. Working on a huge horde of orks and sick of the sight of green? Why not paint a blood angel for a change?
• Set a schedule – This can be a great trick. Say that you’re going to work on your miniatures for an hour and stick to that. If after an hour you find yourself really keen to do more, then the malaise will have left you.
Anyway, this weekend, I’m going to spend some time with some friends I’ve not hung out with for a while, switch up my routine and try to get some exercise as well. So no hobby from me, but hopefully, when next week rolls around, I’ll be ready to crack on with my paints and have a smile plastered over my face as I do so. Onwards!
What do you do to deal with the hobby malaise? Any tips or tricks to avoid the lethargy? We’d all love to hear them so stick them in a comment below!
Big agreement on a number of these although I do think you cand try and ‘force’ yourself to carry on painting – to push on through the malaise. I’d advocate choosing to do those jobs you would normally find onerous anyway – undercoats, basecoats, washes etc. Those jobs are always dull and unrewarding anyway, so if you’re feeling that way already you may as well use it. That way when the mojo returns you’ve already got some prepped models raring to go and your renewed passion will pay dividends with quicker results.
One other thing I found recently that also shifted my perspective is doing a models base first. It may not be possible depending on how you oaint but putting the sand on the base and painting them all in one go, instead of that being the ‘loathed’ job you have to do at the end it’s already out of the way and every bit of paint added is a step to completion instead of painting and then you have to do the bae to complete. It’s a subtle mental trick but I think with alll of the things folk suggest you have to keep switching things up, like the Borg did with their force fields, to try and overcome the malaise.