And why all things are “hobby” if you squint hard enough.
Well this is awkward, I was minding my own business trying to work out who would win in a fight between Aragorn and a Deathwatch Chaplain when Alfredo “bonds0097” Ramirez said I should write something on keeping the hobby streak going. Apparently looking at my Instagram has given him the impression that I am quite diligent about it.
A “Hobby Streak” is pretty simple to explain: Do something hobby-related every day and ideally post about it on social media so you can get that quick hit of endorphins as people rush to like your post. It can get more in-depth and can be quite specific depending on who you ask for their version of it, mostly around length of time by keeping track of the daily streak, resetting the count when you miss a day and aiming for a personal best. It can also be hobby specific focusing on painting for example. Myself, I will post on Instagram about anything hobby related I did that day. I stopped keeping count of the actual streak after January when I kept having to look up the number from the previous post, not because I’m lazy (news flash: I am), but because that part was becoming fiddly and I didn’t want to lose interest in the streak due to something so minor.
For me, in the past, I used to associate “Hobby” only with actually playing games of 40k. And since I have only ever really played with a small group of friends since the early 90’s, games would sometimes fall through or changed at the last minute because Real Life is a thing along with kids and family and other important things. My struggles with the Big Black Dog would mean sometimes I’d get mopey/pissy and think about getting rid of all my stuff and not care about wahwahwah. It was, and still is, a stupid rabbit hole I have needed to remind myself to get out of more than once..
So at the beginning of 2020, I resolved to post once a day on Instagram something I had done that day that was hobby related and that had brought me joy. Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones has summed it up best for me with this simple image:
It started off as motivation to paint more but has quickly evolved to almost anything related to the hobby itself, from smooshing paint on things, reading novels or Goonhammer articles whilst travelling, playing with LEGO (which was used as terrain in a game and thus is “hobby” – fight me on this), tweaking my Necromunda campaign or actually playing the game 40k or Necromunda. It also has now come to include me dribbling words into wordpress and submitting to our wise and benevolent Editors who love my quirky use of punctuation and the horrible things I do with ellipses… (Rob’s note: We definitely don’t)
Since I’ve started, maintaining a hobby streak has been an excellent source of joy sharing with friends and family, which is especially needful in today’s current climate of self isolation, social distancing, and the otherwise stressful circumstances that have arisen from COVID-19 severely impacting our lives and hobbies. Combined with other online tools like Discord (I hear Goonhammer has a Discord server available for Patreons), Twitch (where you can watch Coda being cool and good and paint off camera) and many others, you can still be a part of our great hobby community and talk hams with fellow ham enthusiasts and Spark some Joy.
Tips for Maintaining a Hobby Streak:
- Broaden your definitions of ‘hobby’
It may start off as “I will spend at least 30 minutes hobbying painting/assembling each day” but you could soon find yourself in another city for what was supposed to be a day trip suddenly blow out to a dusty, sweaty 3-day adventure in the data center where servers will feast on your flesh. And to make things worse, you’ll be there sans hobby supplies! That was my moment where instead of giving up after only a few weeks in, I instead decided that I would expand my Hobby Streak definition out to include simple things like “reading hobby-related things.” Reading painting and strategy articles on Goonhammer, digital books from Black Library, or other digital rule books and supplements on my tablet helped me to reach my self-imposed target each night whilst I languished in my hotel room far away from my hams, paints and smooshing sticks. And as mentioned earlier, from that point my Hobby Streak definition has grown even further to involve the time spent writing/working on my Necromunda Campaign and writing various bits and pieces for the editors here to hammer into something legible. Plus other associated activities like actually playing the game and talking rubbish with mates. Or, back to my original point, “All things are ‘hobby’ if you squint hard enough.”
- Get your friends involved/invested
Challenge your friends and start your own hobby group Hobby Streak. Inspire them and in turn, be inspired. Build and paint those Thunderfire Cannons when you see your mate churn out another 30 boys out of shenanigans/spite. An idea for Stores and groups that are running Slow-grow leagues, they could also take part and track peoples progress with a simple custom hashtag.
Having your friends involved can also be a good motivator to keep going–now it won’t just be you that you’re keeping the streak alive for, and for some that added pressure can be a good thing.
- Social Media can be a force for Good
Don’t be afraid to share your stuff with a slightly wider audience outside of your hobby circle. I turned on the option in Instagram to cross-post on Facebook so I could share my hobby with a wider circle of friends/family so that they can also choose to see what I’m up to and what funny little toys I’m currently painting with all those little details (feedback from little old ladies are the best). Seeing the odd like or heart from someone you normally wouldn’t expect is a nice little ego boost and will be a good source of motivation to keep the Hobby Streak alive. Plus, in this current climate we all could do with a decent distraction and who knows – maybe you’ll just might tempt another person into our hobby.
As an added bonus you can also see what your fellow hobbyists are currently working on and take inspiration from that. From whatever conversion or paint job Alfredo “bonds0097” Ramirez is currently working on, or whichever army RichyP painted last night, you’re sure to find some cool looking ideas and paint schemes to use in your hobby. And the little hit of serotonin from the odd like or comment you get is cool and good too.
- What to do if you fall off the wagon
Things happen. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, pick up that lemon and fling that sucker back at who or whatever gave it to you. You have a wagon to get back on and a Hobby Streak to rebuild. This time even longer and more impressive than before (I should write for those companies that steal quotes and make Motivational posters). Keep it cool and good and find that spark of joy again, maybe even take the time to see if anyone else you know wants to start a new Hobby Streak with you so you can spur each other on.
Have any questions or feedback? Want to share your own hobby streak? Drop us a line in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.