Friday, July 13, 2012

Thinking about Hobbies

What is a Hobby?

“A hobby is a regular activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure,
typically done during one's leisure time.”

Many kinds of activities can be considered hobbies:
  • Sports – skiing, golf, baseball, football, basketball
  • Games – computer games, board games
  • Collecting – stamps, baseball cards, CCGs, figurines
  • Creative or productive hobbies – building models, painting, music, model trains, woodworking, photography, rocketry
  • And almost anything else: gardening, cooking, home decorating, etc
Many hobbies combine several types of activities. These hobbies are often the most satisfying, and can be lifetime endeavors. For example, miniatures gaming involves acquiring models (collecting), building and painting those models (productive), and then using those models in games. Collectible card games involve acquiring cards (collecting), building decks (productive), and then playing a game.

How Do You Get Started With a Hobby?

Step 1: Pick a hobby!

Not every hobby is for everybody. It’s often best to experiment with several hobbies before you settle on one.
  • Do some reading about hobbies that interest you.
  • Many hobby manufacturers have easy, inexpensive beginner’s kits to help you determine if a particular hobby is for you.
  • Many hobbies are best enjoyed as a social activity. Do your friends have hobbies? If so, you may enjoy the same activities.
  • Many hobby clubs exist, and are usually happy to lend expertise and supplies to get a beginner started.
  • Hobby stores will often be happy to demo different hobbies or help with instruction.
Don’t be afraid to have multiple hobbies. Most people do! Personally, I play Magic: The Gathering, have armies for the Flames of War, Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Lord of the Rings, Warmachine, and Hordes miniatures games, play lots of board games (particularly railroad games), and play ultimate Frisbee.

Step 2: Determine your budget and schedule

Set aside a little bit of time periodically. It should be fairly frequent to maintain interest and skill levels, so we recommend you do some hobby activity each week. Similarly, determine a dollar amount that you will invest each week. A little bit of time set aside each week for your hobby, using a set amount of investment, will eventually achieve magnificent results.

While almost all hobbies can be enjoyed in small doses without extravagant dollar outlays, many hobbies do require a bit of up front investment for tools, equipment and supplies. Getting started is easier if you can borrow or share tools and equipment with friends.

Step 3: Take the plunge!

Buy something and get started! Don’t forget the tools and supplies you need.

The most important thing when getting started is to keep a positive attitude. You are doing unfamiliar things, and your first attempts at a hobby will generally not give perfect results. Take a look at what you did, and think to yourself about where you can do better. Sometimes you will need better tools and materials, but the vast majority of the time, getting better just requires practice.

Step 4: So practice!

Remember when you set a budget and schedule? Use that time to practice, and the budget to give you more material to practice with!

Step 5: Improve your skills

Most people enjoy getting better at their hobbies. Here are some ways to think about:
  • Check out online forums related to the hobby.
  • Most hobbies have guide books or manuals devoted to techniques and skills.
  • It’s hard reinventing a hobby all by yourself. Ask fellow hobbyists or the friendly staff at your local hobby store for advice to make things easier.
  • Some hobby stores and clubs have hobby nights where you get together to practice your craft. (The Whiz does hobby nights on Mondays from 5-8PM. It’s mostly modelers and painters but anyone is welcome!)
  • Some hobbies have events to show off your work. Entering these events is a great way to find out ways to get better.

Step 6: Have FUN!

Enjoy your new pastime!

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