Thursday, October 6, 2011

Don't Listen to the Voices - Staying Focused on a Project

Of late I've had very little time for hobby. Work has pretty much sucked up all the time available, and then some. It doesn't help that my office is also my hobby cave, so I occasionally look over my shoulder and sigh forlornly at the batch of unpainted models waiting my attention. Poor little mites. It doesn't help that this is only one of a number of projects I have on the go, even I DID have time for it right now. I'm going to take a breather to write this though, so I feel I've had some hobby input this month.

I have noticed also, as the momentum on my fimir project has been mired down until it is now barely idling, that the voices have started.

Don't pretend you don't hear them too.

The little whispers that make you wonder if you should start that new project, surely you'll be able to fit it in? Just one new model, as a break? That gang/character/vehicle/unit/team won't take long. And look at all that new stuff, looks nice eh? Of course, the occasional rummage through the tower of lead/plastic/resin (you know what I mean there too) reveals a model or two you've really been meaning to paint for years now. It's all very distracting.

Personally I have three warhammer armies on the go, a pile of mighty empires campaign markers to do, some terrain to finish and a blood bowl team to assemble. Years of painting right there. I know this is a common phenomenon, as perfectly illustrated by a post in the excellent Iron Mitten. Check it out here. So, there's a whole plethora of reasons we do this, which is not my focus today. Rather, how does one combat these distracting little whispers? I have managed to dismiss all the notions of parking the fimir to work on other projects (when I have time again) and here's how I'm doing it:

1. Pick a project you're passionate about. The more you love it, the more likely it will get finished.

2. Keep up a decent rate of work. Give yourself short - term goals. "I'll paint ten rank and file this week." Small steps done regularly are better than nothing.

3. Don't take on too much at once. Concentrate on achievable chunks. Don't tackle all fifty goblins at once. Do them in batches of ten, or even five, and intersperse them with more exciting parts of the army.

4. Keep and eye on the reward. Keeping reminding yourself how great it will all look when done. How you will bask in glory and the wonder of your peers.

5.  Use the forums. The internet is FULL is forums running painting threads, army plogs etc. These are mostly full of people who will cheers you on. It also helps when you get pinged for updates. It's harder to give up if you've got folks egging you on. I've made huge use of this, and it's an ENORMOUS encouragement.

For those of you lucky enough to have local clubs or gaming stores, tell people how you're getting on, bring in what you have so far, ask for advice. It's all a big help.

6. Take a break.  

"What, but you said?!"

Forget what I said. That was then. I don't mean dustcover the whole project for weeks, but don't hammer away at it every night either. Take a night off, watch a movie, go for a bracing stroll (or a bracing troll, whatever tickles your fancy), take your partner out for dinner, all that good stuff. Hmm. This sounds a bit patronising. Still! it's no less true for all that. It'll revitalise you when you return to the painting table.

7. Talk to your minis. No, I'm kidding. Or am I? I am. Am I?

Hopefully there will be something here to help keep you from having six half painted armies while waiting for number seven to arrive in the post. Now, where's that fimm I was working on...


  1. I think we all know how you feel about having so many minis, not enough time. And I think some of your tips are good ones too. But I have to say that I am a fan of having several things on the go at once. I know my personal attention span on any one project runs to about three months. After that, I am itching to start something new, or return to a previously started project. A change is as good as a rest, as they say. It does mean that my armies grow in fits and starts, but it suits me.

    Oh yeah, and get back to work on the fimir you slacker!

  2. Yes guv, sorry guv... (tips hat)

    I guess people work differently. I'm just pretty linear when it comes to hobby, I like finishing something, then moving on to the next thing, others thrive on multiple projects.

    This forced break does have me champing at the bit to get back to the bog dwellers, I was just done with the fimm movement tray, just some water effects to go.

  3. Generally speaking I flit about between projects incessantly, and I try not to think about how many hundreds of models I have that are *almost* painted...

    This year I tried something different and committed to the one army for the entire year. It's seen me rack up 5-6K of painted Empire, however even within that I am jumping about between different units and have a number of partially completed efforts. Still, pointedly ignoring all my other armies seems to have helped my progress.

    About to embark on a challenge with another blogger to get a set number of models painted in 2 weeks. We'll see how that goes as another means of motivation.

    I haven't tried talking to my models before. Does it help?

  4. Fantastic, hard-won advice in there, Mr Saturday. I share your pain and I think we've all definately been there. I'd second all of your excellent points ... I've tried almost all of them at some time (OK, I don't actually TALK to the damn minis, but they are often in my thoughts!). One thing which has really helped me is the forums and blogging. As you say, with people watching, it's so much harder to stop and disappoint. Anyway, super blog, and a great blog post.

  5. Cheers Sidney! I have been shamefully little lean on the posts lately.

    I've been following your Empire exploits ye of the small hood. Very impressive. You're a hell of a lot more prolific than I am, though having that many partially completed minis would drive me to Lovecraftian madness. Funny how the mind works.

    The only time to start worrying about talking to minis (I may not actually talk to them, but let's run with it) is when they begin to converse back...

  6. I'm a big fan of number 6. For me, this hobby is about taking time away from the important pressures of real life. Sometimes, I'm just not in the mood for painting bits of plastic, and it's never worth forcing myself to do it. There are always plenty of other fun things to do.


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