This post is in regards to the upcoming Journeyman League I’ll be organizing this September. This post doesn’t apply to everyone, so take it with a grain of salt.
It’s an epic struggle to get paint on a model. Even the most avid artist finds himself stuck in this mire of non-motivation. It’s like writer’s-block, but the ramifications are worse — you have miniatures that demand to be played. It may be okay for some people, but playing a game with unpainted models is like Derek Jeter playing baseball without his Yankee jersey.
So, how to motivate yourself to paint?
Well, first here’s what I’ve learned from my experience on Earth. The #1 enemy of motivation is judgement. It could be a stealthy dagger of self-judgement, that whisper in your inner self that says “you suck”. Or, it could be the fear of judgement from other people. Judgement is a kind of a fear.
Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
-Muad’Dib (Dune by Frank Herbert 1965)
A keen sense of self-judgement produces anxiety.
As a human being, we go to great lengths to avoid anxiety. We avoid it completely. We don’t paint our miniatures. We do something else to distract ourselves. We make excuses. After a while, we associate painting models with anxiety. It’s a thorn in your side. Ultimately, you undergo a kind of fear-based conditioning, the little cousin of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Just the thought of painting makes you uncomfortable. This, of course, all happens just under the surface of your awareness (unless you’re paying special attention). Soon, you’re telling everyone you “suck at painting” or “I hate painting”.
In the end, this is the problem: I don’t have motivation to paint, because I don’t want to feel anxious.
So, how do I motivate myself to paint? It’s my desire to do something that I know is good. Creation is good. It keeps me going. It’s a good thing, even if I suck at it. Yeah, it comes off as cliche, even cheesy, but knowing that you love to see colored models on the table no matter how badly done is a great motivator. Taken a bit further, painting is an important part of the game you love, because the game you play has a child-like enjoyment. Love the community that shares the enjoyment of the game. If you love all these things, you won’t be afraid to move yourself to paint because you’re doing the job within the context of something greater than yourself.
Get it painted, because you’re doing something important. Get it done.