One Man's OCD... another man's careful planning!

 Well, I sincerely hope you're having a great start to 2018?

As the New year celebrations calm down, the hobby blogosphere tends to fill up quickly with that curious mix of reflection and expectation that is prevalent everywhere at this time.  "Here's how many hundred figures I've painted this year!" the bloggers cry with delight.  "I'm going to achieve (insert huge project here)" they soon exclaim.  Don't get me wrong, I've done this sort of stuff before.

I'd begin with the customary festive cheer, and then look at what I'd planned in January of the previous year.  This invariably made me realise I'd failed to do pretty much all of it.

Take last year for example.  I thought I'd try the 365 Challenge.  The idea is you tally up your hobby hours and make sure you've had the equivalent of 1 hour per day for the year.  Whilst that might sound good and manageable, it certainly wasn't (and still isn't) practical.   By 6th May I had clocked a whoppingly minuscule 53.5 hours.  And when I gave up on it, I actually began liking my hobby again, rather than being oppressed by it.

Well, no more I say! 
What I thought I'd do instead is share something that has helped my hobby along immensely in recent months.  It's appeared in a few photos recently.

It's my black book!  Probably nothing new to many of you, but to me, it's been great.

I tend to flit about in my hobby.  The people I game with tend to prefer skirmish games.  It keeps the costs down and the scenery making goes through the roof.  I love that immensely, as you'll know by looking at this blog of mine.  It's also an easy way t go from one project to the next.  When you only need a handful of figures, you source them, save up, buy them and then paint them. 

But when it comes to something bigger, there can be a lot more work.  Suddenly you're determining army lists and working out your purchases.  And if like me you have a limited budget for pretty much anything, you come to some conclusions and then have to shelve the ideas because of a lack of funds.  I've been doing this for years. 
Don't get me wrong, I have a number of black books.  In them, I have made notes about the periods I want to game.  Some of the pages have actual army lists drawn up.  But nothing concrete.  And as you move from one project to the next, you begin to lose track of what you need. 
So when I got a new notebook and pen on Father's Day last year, I wasn't sure what to do with it.  After much head scratching, I decided I would use it to make checklists of what I needed to purchase.  This was great.  I knew where I was heading.

And now, having been able to buy some more boxes of miniatures, the book has moved into phase two!  As I have enough figures to start making them ready for a game, I'm using a marking system I've developed to make sure I know exactly what I need to make for each force.  It's simple, but it's brilliant!
So each army has a list of units and characters I need to have.  Beside each listing is a box or boxes.  Each box represents a single model.  I use a series of simple marks to tell me what I've done.  A single diagonal slash across the box means I have made the model and it's stuck to its base.  One dot beneath the square tells me that my basing material has been applied.  At this point, the model is ready for painting.  I add another diagonal slash to show that the model and its base have been painted.  I add a second dot beneath the square to show that the model's base has been flocked.  At this point the model is ready for gaming.

 Because my hobby time can be so erratic, I can find myself going a month between sessions.  In that time I may want to do something different to what I had been working on last time.   In the past, this would cause catharsis because I wouldn't know where I was at with the various projects I'd either be working on or wishing I was working on.  So I'd invariably waste the hour I had available trying to figure it all out.  Not so now!  I can simply go to my black book and see instantly where I am on a project and what I could do next. 
I confess I have a number of different projects in the book just now.  I could tell you what they all are, but then it'd be like one of those New Year posts I said I wasn't going to do. 
What I can promise instead, is to watch this space!  My blog will continue to contain its usual mix of scenery projects, miniature painting, batreps and stuff I find myself doing that I had no idea would ever come across my workstation.  I'm not straight-jacketing my hobby pans, and neither should you!  It's a hobby and its supposed to be enjoyable, not a forced chore.  When that happens, it defeats its purpose entirely.

I doubt that what I've written about is in any way new or original.  But I do hope my ramblings make sense and encourage you to embrace your hobby in a relaxed and enjoyable way. 


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