Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Year Without Lead?

For some reason this week I've been in something of a reflective mood with regard to how I've been approaching my hobby in recent months. I think it comes from looking at a painting desk littered with bits and pieces of projects begun with wild enthusiasm and then dropped about three weeks later.

I've seen myself do this before. I think it was what led me to become for a while a disciple of the "project management" approach to the hobby. This had it's benefits. there is no way opn this earth I would have painted quite so many Spencer Smith plastics as I did (about 1200) going about in my usual amateurish way.

I dropped it though as it seemed too joyless a way of pursuing the hobby. Sure, I was getting excellent results, but I wasn't really enjoying the process too much. So, in pursuit of fun, I let myself go mad and pursue any old thing with no goals in mind whatever.

Now this was very satisfying, at least to the spendthrift in me, but it did lead to a big painting funk in the second half of the year as my piles of unpainted or part-painted things started to sap my will to continue with anything much.

So what to do?

What to do? Part of me wants to take a complete break from the hobby for a year and see whether I want to carry on afterwards. Knowing me, I doubt that's at all likely, but I am really in a mood to pack everything up and at least NOT BUY anything for a year. Part of my current malaise is at least partly based on guilt at pissing away huge amounts of money on stuff that basically gets put on a pile and left.

I'm curious to see how much money I'd save if I took a year off - a year without lead as it were.

Perhaps this is the year I could live off my hump. Maybe I could try to turn my lead-mountain into a lead mole-hill.

A year without lead.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Well . . . if 2014 is to be a "year without lead" perhaps you should 'stock up' for Christmas, eh?

One of the ways I've found for helping that 'painting malaise' is to change periods (and perhaps scales if you paint in different scales). Also varying between foot and mounted (and artillery and wagons) helps because you aren't doing the same thing time after time.

Remember Christmas is but 5 weeks away . . . and then you only have a week's grace before you start your "year without lead".

I wish you the Happiest of Holidays, sir.

-- Jeff

Steve Gill said...

That sounds familiar mate; guilt, waste and all that.

My own experience is that it's not practical to take a complete break from the hobby, because it involves severing contact with friends, but it is possible to not spend for a set period of time, like a year; the latter I've found surprisingly productive, especially if combined with a bit of a ruthless clear-out, and you emerge with a clearer vision of what you really want to do.

Best of luck whatever you decide.

fireymonkeyboy said...

Even if you break down and buy a little something, it's not a bad goal - you focus on the stuff you have, and enjoying painting it, rather than thinking about the next thing you want to do. I find the later tends to diminish my enthusiasm for what I've got.


tidders2 said...

have a 'no purchase' break - I'm trying this at the moment - the aim is to clear up the backlog of unpainted units and oddment figs.

hope you overcome your angst :)

-- Allan

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

A single malt and two aspirin ought to do the trick. Throw in a good Cuban cigar, and you'll be back on track in no time.


Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Well, no 2 people are alike so there is no right for every one solution and what follows should be taken as no more than one man's observations.

I'm not happy when I've spent money on 'stuff' and then not enjoyed it, whether its piling up in a cupboard or became tedium. Capping expenditures for a while won't hurt, either there will be some sort of 'stuff' to buy in future or there won't which would indicate bigger problems than a hobby.

There are a couple of things I've recognized over the last few years as problems. A big one is that I lose enjoyment and interest when there is a mismatch between my expectations of what I should be 'getting done' and my resources whether money, time, energy, social situation etc.

My dissatisfaction is worse if I let outside opinions on what I 'should' be doing or not doing influence me.

Your life situation is quite different from mine but one thing that has worked for me over the years is to set very small, specific, limited, practical intermediate goals, preferable based on existing not new resources. Say, 1 scenario with very small units. The result can often be expanded later but equally often it turns out that a little of that was enough.

Its also a huge help to plan bigger projects over decades not years.

For me gaming is social but teaching myself to play small solo games has been a life saver when opponents became too few and too far away for frequent games.

Anyway, by all means stop buying and do some thinking and feeling and even some impulse painting from the cupboard, just please don't go away mad in a hurry! :)

Fitz-Badger said...

Seems a lot of us go through something like this at times. Putting a hold on purchases for a time isn't a bad idea. (or buying just a few things that get you "fired up" for a small project, that you can concentrate on and complete in a short time without stress or feeling like it's work) Beyond that I think Ross and the others have the right of it. Good luck!

Der Alte Fritz said...


It is supposed to be a hobby, not a chore or an obligation, so treat it as a hobby again.

If you need to take some time away from it, then do so and don't worry about it. Eventually the mood to game and paint will come back to you.

I have noticed that you seem to bounce around from one project to another, without finishing any of them. Perhaps pick one of your old projects and have a goal to finish it or get it close enough to having enough painted figures for a game. I would like to see more of your RSM project, for example.

It is not a bad idea to stop buying lead for awhile and work down that large pile o' lead.


Bloggerator said...

Hi Jim,

I suppose it's my opinion that no project is ever truly finished and that one project may well morph into another! Sometimes I buy bits and bobs just to dip my toe in the water - like those Willie Landsknechts. Itch scratched and a nice little display on the mantlepiece. However, since you mention it, I do have a lot of RSM 95 British in the pile and Prestonpans has been lurking around in my mind a lot these past 12 months. And i could use them with my now-fairly-mature FIW collection. I am near mty first project milestone on my "Fin de Siecle Alzheim" project and inted to start having some back-yard games with them and my Stadden "Littler Britons" in the new year.

All the best,