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I Am Burned Out

The reason FBTB came to be. We don't forget our roots.

I Am Burned Out

Postby Staff » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:22 am

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time and finally have a couple of free minutes to focus my thoughts and put them down on paper. I've come to the realization that I am simply just burned out on LEGO. If the lack of regular updates to the site isn't an indication of that then I don't know what is. I've had LEGO in my life since 1999, the start of the LEGO Star Wars license, and on the site way back when it was just a subsection of I've been the showrunner since ... I want to say 2002. That's over 15 years ago. We've had our ups, we've had our downs, but I don't think I've ever been this un-enthused before about all things LEGO like I am now.

I can't really point to any one thing as being the cause. It's a combination of a couple of things really: having to chase the news, trying to keep up with other sites, feeling like things had to be done a certain way, feeling like I'm being ignored by my main point of contact with LEGO, my family, other interests, and probably a couple of other things. At some point it no longer became fun and anytime I had to do something for the site, it was a monumental effort to gather the will to do it. Running this site shouldn't feel like a chore and it was.

I had a good friend ask me recently, what was the last set I built for fun, and I couldn't really answer him. This was when we were standing in line waiting for the LEGO store to open to make our purchase and qualify for the Wonder Woman Brickheadz build. It dawned on me how much time passed since I last built a set, and a set that I wanted to build for myself and not for a review. It also reminded me of my review "pile" and how out of hand it's gotten, and how far behind I was. My god my pile of unopened sets... does the term "box fort" mean anything?

And this goes back to what I was saying earlier, about how I felt like things had to be done a certain way, like writing a post or a review. If it couldn't be done the way I thought it should be done, then why bother doing it at all. I placed all these self-imposed restrictions on myself, it hampered any effort in doing something, anything. And that is something I am letting go.

Now, before I go on, I should say this: I am not quitting. It sounds like I'm done, and ready to leave the hobby forever. I'd be lying if I said I didn't seriously consider it, but I'm not about to quit. I've been on a break from LEGO and this site for awhile, and I think it was the break I needed to figure out what I wanted to do. That mentality of feeling like things had to be done a certain way or else it's not worth doing? Yeah, I'm getting rid of that. I want to make running the site fun again, and post things however I want without having to conform to some standard, or feel like I'm competing against other sites. On that note, I may post some non-LEGO related posts on things that interest me. I've buried myself in my Nintendo Switch lately (anyone else playing Splatoon?) and rediscovered my love of video games so maybe you'll see the occasional post about that here and there about. We will still be LEGO-centric, but will include some more personal, off-topic stuff. And that is one thing I want this site to be; I want it to feel more personal. We are more than just LEGO news and reviews. We are just some regular dudes with other things going on in our lives and other interests. There are a lot of reasons why we're burned out on LEGO, so why keep focusing our efforts on stuff we don't like? Why not put our energies in the stuff that brings us joy instead?

I had a text stream conversation with Nick and Don about all this, to whom, and I cannot stress this enough, I owe my deepest and sincerest gratitude. This site would be in a way worse condition than it is now without them. I communicated my change in attitude and approach to what this site is about and they are on board. It was such a relief to get this off my chest with them, and you know, that probably wasn't the first time that happened either. I had a bit of deja vu thinking that I had the exact same type of conversation with them before. Maybe it's a cyclical thing with me. Pour my heart and soul into something, burn out, rise from the ashes, rinse and repeat. /shrug

Anyways, a lot of things will be changing around here. For better or for worse, that remains to be seen, but I'm ready to move forward again.

tl;dr: I'm back; things will change, but we're still the same jerks and we aren't going away.

Image shamelessy lifted off of The Odyssey Online
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby Spencer Solo » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:42 am

I had always thought the name "From Bricks to Bothans" seems a lot more all-encompassing than just Lego. I'm just getting out of a kind of dark ages that started in high school and I'm excited about a lot of the new sets and mods people are doing. But I think we can all relate to getting burned out. Excited to see how things go going ahead.
Romans 12:1
Spencer Solo
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby Firespray » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:45 am

Think everyone of us goes through that Dark Age at some point, glad to hear the site isn't shutting down. (Hey I'm still here!)
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby captain sambuca » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:22 am

This is a little bit heart breaking to read.
I don't contribute much to the forums here, but want you to know that i still check the site every day. Of course we've noticed that there's been a bit of a lean period the last however many weeks or whatever. I want you to know that I like your style. I want you to know that it's all appreciated.
Reading that post feels like reading a book and discovering a character that you've grown fond of over the last thirty chapters or whatever is suddenly and unexpectedly in trouble. Bad times. It's prompted me to write something here, and I can't remember when the last time that was.
You have done something here to be proud of though- you've created a community I suppose- which is just about the coolest thing that any of us can possibly do. It's a big deal.
For my own part, I can't afford lego these days. Not for ages. Years. Ten or fifteen years ago was the last time I could afford something- save for the thirty pence or whatever whenever there's been a newspaper with a special offer. But I've loved reading the reviews of each new set. Usually I've skipped past the bits about the minifigures, but I've really enjoyed reading all those tiny details about new pieces or features or whatever. The press releases and stuff can be found in half a dozen other places, but it's your take on things that I've always valued.
I want to say two things. First: don't sweat it. Life's more important- all that other stuff that's getting in the way, isn't the stuff that's getting in the way- chances are that that's the stuff that's more important. Don't do anything you don't want to. The world keeps turning. It sounds like you're doing exactly that already. Fairplay to you.
Secondly: if you need a hand, ask. My bet is this is a community. My bet is that we're all here to help you if you need anything.
Here's the lego analogy: we're each just a piece in a bigger set. We all have a part to play- all of us. Mate- I think that we're all there for you if you need us. Email me if you ever need stuff.
Here's the star wars analogy: We can't all be Yoda, or Obi Wan, or Boba Fett if that's your thing or whatever, but what those stories tell us is that in the end friends help each other out. Han comes back, even though he's already got his reward; Lando gets on to Lobot on that crazy oversized watch of his to make that rescue attempt; even C3P0 thinks about his friends just before those stormtroopers find him ("Oh no! I've been shot!"- worst line ever?)
So yeah. Speak out. Give us a shout. You've got this- but give me a shout if there's stuff that I can do to help.
It'll be okay.
captain sambuca
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby foximus-prime » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:17 pm

Nope, Damb it! I refuse to let you quit!!! >8( You are one of the pillars of our little community here and you need to suck it up butter cup. I've gone on hiatus many times myself to "find my own building style", "had builders block" (pun intended), got busy or distracted with life, video games, got married. AND I KEEP COMING BACK ;)

But with all honesty bud, just listen to your heart! I love Lego LOVE LEGO! and I'm not always in the mood to build but it's still one of my true loves and lets face it I could never leave my lady Lego. The best advice I can give is that in time of woe Lego will never leave you, if you step on it it'll hurt your foot but never break your heart and as time passes Lego will always keep it's firm body and sweet sharp curves gladly waiting for you to it up and play with her..... lol umm kinda got carried away but what I'm trying to say is that there's nothing wrong with taking a break every now and again because when you're ready to come back to it your Lego will still be there. ;)
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby Athos » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:59 pm

I can understand that. A break is good. Good luck and don't stay away too long. We'll start to miss the updates too much...

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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby jjh » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:55 pm

Long time reader, rare commenter here. Just wanted to check-in and let you know that I appreciate your site as much as any Lego site on the internet. That said, and I hope this site remains and prospers for years to come, the most important thing is this:

Do what you love to do with your time.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby etcknight » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:03 pm

Being one of the oldest members here (from wayyyy back on, I can say, "I'm right there with you, Ace." Once you have kids, work, wife, and your 40's, personal hobbies seem to go on the back-burner. Sometimes I look at my ever growing pile of parts that need sorting, and I get a little taken aback. And yet, the pile still seems to keep growing. I keep telling myself that my son and daughter will one day have an interest in Legos and will justify my every growing pile. I've acquired collections of Friends (bleh!) and Super Hero Girls thinking one day my daughter might have interest. Over time, many of my interests have been let go - Macross / Robotech, Transformers, GI Joe, Gundam, comic books, and other Japanese series. There's just too much to keep up with and not enough time or money. Typical new Transformers or Macross toys are $100-$300 retail! I still have unbuilt plastic Gundam models I keep telling myself I'll paint and build one day. *sigh*

"I'm right there with you, Ace" and I applaud your efforts to keep the fire alive. XD
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby banthafodder » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:00 am

I've always appreciated this site and its content for the honesty of the people here. Having known you and Don through the site and various fan events, I appreciate the devotion everyone has put in. If I could make a suggestion; when the site was more active you were able to delegate items to other people to post. Once those members fell away, they were never replaced leaving the awesome burden on your shoulders. It may be time to get some more people contributing to help you out.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby onions » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:22 am

gd you guys bring a tear to my eye.
Damp Noodle
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby Chosen One » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:51 am

What I do believe, don't let a hobby rule your life.

There are many other diverse experiences out there.

I've been there, not just with Lego, but with collecting and gaming too... looking back, a bit of regret I didn't invest some of that time in something to better my skill.

Keep well,
Chosen One
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby Dendo » Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:45 am

When I came out of my dark ages back in 2002, I felt a little weird about being an adult collecting Lego. Then I found this site. It was the first of other Lego themed sites that I began to frequent, but it has always been my favorite. It changed my perspective on the hobby and it made me feel like part of a community. It let me know that I wasn't alone. Weird, but not alone. I have always appreciated the humor and the honesty expressed on this site.

Now, 15-ish years later, I am having similar feelings about being burned out with the hobby and it is good to know that I am still not alone in that, though what you are going through is probably a little different than what I am. Among other things, I have become discontent with the rising prices and the constant hunt for exclusives and things like that. I still love Lego and the thought of Lego, I am just not finding much joy in it anymore. I'm sure I'll snap out of it at some point. Until then, I will still continue to visit this site and look forward to seeing the new direction.

I do appreciate this website and all that you have put into it over the years and I appreciate your openness and candor in this post. I've always said that you have to do what is best for you, your family and your happiness. Hang in there and start having fun again!
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby dWhisper » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:18 pm

We sort of hit a perfect storm... I've been working on a very similar article to post around here. There are many reasons for my current state of Dark Age/Burnout, but the primary reason is that I have a finite amount of time and resources, and as of late, LEGO simply can't make the cut. Is what it is, and will likewise hopefully be contributing something different around here... but I've been slowly getting away from LEGO, and as a company, LEGO has certainly made it hard to be a fan as of late.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby Indy1981 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:36 pm

I too read your site everyday, and it's one I fondly share with my friends. I came late to the LEGO Star Wars party, but thanks to your reviews, I have been able to pick and choose which sets are the ones I want to spend my ever dwindling free time constructing. Your writing is very good, and because of that, is my favorite LEGO site hands down.

I also think pursuing what makes you happy is incredibly important.

I look forward to seeing how the site evolves and am thrilled to hear it will continue.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby gomek » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:05 pm

I tried to run a blog of my own on a different topic, and it only lasted about two years before I got burned out. It happens. Unless someone is independently wealthy, it's hard to find the time to be that dedicated for that long.

I do enjoy reading posts here, so I'm kind of hoping maybe someone can step in to help. Maybe some more banner ads or something would help with the cash flow. I'm sure that wouldn't hurt.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby PurpleDave » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:21 pm

I am in a unique position to understand exactly how you feel. Back in 2001, I was asked if I wanted to start up a site, and for the next 2.5 years I ran Mask of Destiny. For much of that time, I ran it solo, and for most of that time I tried to make sure we had at least one new article per day...which meant that I was often trying to throw something worth reading together right before crawling into bed. I had days when I got home from work and spent more time than I did at work just answering e-mails from fans of the site. There were times that I had kids accusing me of plagiarism because just about anytime I broke original news with sources cited, some tyrant would repost them (with anonymous sources) on a competing site with the date rolled back so it looked like he beat me by a day. And the day we added forums to the site merely compounded the workload.

Now, I loved going to NYTF (which I got to do three times, and even met the founder of FBTB at LEGO Direct back in 2002), even though I could barely afford it at the time. I still haven't had anything I'd call a "dark ages" (unless you count being told I was too old to even buy LEGO sets, with my own money, when I was staring at the last Forestman's River Crossing on the shelf). I was able to add items to my collection that I never could have acquired entirely on my own. Technically, I've been on hiatus for over 13 years because I don't think I ever officially quit.

In the meantime, I became very involved with what would eventually become the most active LUG in the world. We've been averaging over 20 shows a year for eight years now, and I've personally done as many as fifteen in a single year. Mostly it consists of setting up really cool displays, answering the same questions so many times that I tend to rattle off the exact same answer by pure reflex, and just shooting the breeze with other club members during lulls. Occassionally it involves distracting kids from gigantic skyscrapers with a couple of tiny minifigs (that's totally my superpower). I've been doing this for about as long as you've been running FBTB, and rather than feeling burnt out I sometimes find myself wishing we had another show on the schedule if we go more than a month without one.

So, you have to do what's right for the site, and you have to do what's right for yourself. You say you're not going to quit, but if you've reached a point where you're actually posting an article like this, you mind find it takes a significantly bigger change than you're currently planning to make if you're going to avoid finding yourself right back at this point in another year or two. Maybe not. You did last at least six times longer than I did, and I think that might be ten times as long as Tim. But you still might find you need to quit, go on an official hiatus, hand off running the site to someone else, or even just bring in some fresh blood to help revitalize the site and take some of the burden off of your own shoulders.
Everything is Batman! Except Adam West.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby minimitch » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:46 pm

Thanks for such a fun time. I enjoyed the competitions the most. I'm glad we had the opportunity to meet and talk for a bit at Lego Land. I'm glad you liked my custom mouse droid.
My encounter with FBTB started when I quite smoking in 2004 I received a Star Wars Lego set 4502 as a gift. After that I became a chain builder you might say. Your web site was the best in keeping me well informed with the Lego world which became my new addiction for a long time.
In an indirect way, FBTB helped me wean off an unhealthy addiction and my family and I are thankful for that.

Thanks and God Bless,
Last edited by minimitch on Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby TeddytheSpoon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:33 am

Young long-time reader here, recently out of a dark age. Just wanted to point out how much this site means to me as a fan (it's probably the only Lego site besides TBB that I check on every single day), and how much I enjoy reading all the articles on here. I dare say this site helped me leave my dark age.

FBTB was the first Lego site that I found and I have no idea why it's taken me so long to actually take part in the community that I've seen build (pun very much intended) up around this site. I'd love to see it continue, but you do whatever you feel is right. There are no rules here (broadly speaking anyway). You do you.

And if you do need help, just ask. The above comments are evidence enough that there's a great community here. I for one would gladly help run the site in whatever way I can, whether that's taking out the trash or making the tea (or heaven forbid write a few things) - I'm a student so I'm not exactly a busy bee.

Thanks for posting this. I'm glad to hear from you.

Big up, Ace.
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby GrayMattR » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:35 pm

Thanks for building FBTB to what it is, which was no small task! I've been here since 1999 and remember those first 4 years as a huge growing period. You took the opportunity to make things even better after the site was hacked and brought down. I can remember how excited I was when you built the new site and people signed up in a mad rush.

You took fan websites to a new level when you started to go to events like SDCC and New York Toy Fair. Nobody else was doing that when you were.

Life presents changes for everyone and you're entitled as much as the rest of us to enjoy your family and your own priorities. As I read this, I was going to say the same suggestion Banthafodder did, which is the site thrived with multiple administrators and even though they weren't replaced, now's the time to appoint new ones.
Hit me up on Instagram @LegoMinifigureDesktop or on Topps Star Wars Card Trader @GrayMattR
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Re: I Am Burned Out

Postby starwarsmags » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:39 pm

Finally a word of explanation - and a strong, eye opening one! I already started to worry about you and the site! Glad you keep the site up and running! Can´t wait for your new postings, cause I love your writing style and honesty!

best regards from Germany!
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