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Hobby Wants vs. Hobby Shoulds

Published on 11/03/2015

  • Hobby Wants vs. Hobby Shoulds
  • Hobby Wants vs. Hobby Shoulds
  • Hobby Wants vs. Hobby Shoulds

Here's the first blog entry by Richi 'Doctor Loxley'. He makes for some interesting reading. Agree or disagree? Use the comments below and get involved! 

Greetings everyone!

Like many of you my war gaming hobby exists by being sandwiched in between a myriad of other activities ranging from being a parent of a toddler, having a full time job and of course other hobbies. Every single one of these activities are just as important as the next, and in some cases (like being a father) more important than others. In other words my hobby time is a limited and very precious commodity.

From time to time my war gaming hobby needs to meet certain deadlines; perhaps there is a tournament due, or maybe a game I am helping to design needs a new version put out, or maybe I have been to an event that needs to be reviewed of written about?

These are all as I call 'should' hobby elements:

I should paint that army.

I should write that review.

I should go to that event.

Let's be honest, we've all been there, and let me tell you - nothing beats out the enjoyment from a hobby faster than should.

Compare this to the subtle difference of hobby 'wants':

I want to paint that model.

I want to go to that event.

I want to play that game.

In the ideal situation a hobby want and a hobby should, will go hand in hand, but what do we do when they don't?

Like with my latest hobby project: Infinity - Operation Icestorm. Some people call it hobby funk, when it's just not in you to paint that model, or to play that game, and these are dangerous times for everyone involved.

So what does ol' Richi recommend for these situations when the twin moons of want and should are not aligned and the idea of doing something you should leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth?

Don't do it!

Yup it's that simple. Put down the brush, put away the models, put away the keyboard, whatever it is you feel you should do, don't do it!

Far too many hobby projects have been ruined by half-hearted reviews, minimal quality paint jobs and un-fun games being played all because we, the hobbyist doesn't want to do it but feel we should. In other words; our hearts just weren't in it.

In some cases this funk can last for days, weeks, months, and maybe even years. After all our attention and interests move and wane from time to time, this is only normal and natural, but pushing through and ignoring these movements and wanes is exactly the recipe to kill a hobby interest. How many of us can remember going on a hobby hiatus for years at a time? Let's see a show of hands! I know I certainly did, eleven years in fact. But I still came back and even now and then I still pull out my old second edition 'Nids and either re-do a paint job or paint a few more 'Stealers to try and complete all 40 I received from Second Ed. Space Hulk.

Personally I say we should be proud of our half-finished hobby projects, our armies that are 2 units shy of being tournament legal and our games we've picked up, played with and then left for pastures new. These are not things to be embarrassed about but to be celebrated. Imagine the alternative where we play only one game or engage in only a single hobby for the entirety of our lives?

More importantly, and as I am sure we can all in one way or another relate to; just remember the pride and achievement we all experience when we do finish that hobby experience, even if it has been left on the back burner for 2+ years? 

And that is the point of this whole thing: it's a hobby; we're supposed to enjoy ourselves in as many aspects as possible. If we're not enjoying ourselves then where's the point?

So next time you feel that you 'should' finish painting that model but really you don't 'want' to, I say don't. Put away your brush, grab a cup of tea, a beer, a biscuit, a game controller or a good book and sometime later revisit that project and I am certain not only will you enjoy it a whole lot more, but you will remember 'why' you engage in our wonderful hobby.

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Great post and yes we've all been there.

I've 'walked away' from more projects than I care to remember, but do finish the odd one or two, and love that feeling of completion. I do think having a goal, no matter how modest helps. Finish Unit A, or Character B for example, but don't set ridiculous time restraints or you'll end up disgruntled. Even if it's for a competition, if you prepare and think before rushing in, good chance you'll complete the project before you know it, and be a lot happier than just trying to cram it in.

It's worth remembering however, some figures, buildings or vehicles, you just can't get 'in to', this doesn't mean you should beat yourself up about it. Some, even great figs or gear just won't flow. Don't punish yourself or hate the model, it's just life and the hobby.

Sometimes the hobby Mojo just is not there, even the best authors sometimes have 'writers block', and I'm sure some painters do to. I know I do. The trick I find is, like you, walk away. Clear the painting table/board/whatever and either come back later or start something different instead. You'll be amazed at what a short break can (sometimes but not always) do for new found inspiration and dedication. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither were painted armies of little figures.

Being a Dad to a toddler, and a new baby on it's way (very, very soon!), as well as everything else in life, my hobby time is more precious and less than it ever has been. Funny thing is, I think I relish the time more, and produce better, less complacent work, albeit slightly less than I used to be able to in terms of quantity.


Thanks for the comment!

I couldn't agree me with you; the less hobby time I have the more I enjoy it when I get to sit down and carry on a project.

Of course this comes with a caveat. On more than 1 occasion I've bought models to paint that I've purchased for rules alone and when I've painted them I've felt a little like ive wasted my time because I could have spent it on a model that was a pleasure to paint.
But horses for courses, as in those situations the pleasure comes from fielding the unit in a game.

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