Chronicles of an FFXIV black mage, cosplayer and coffee addict

Blaugust #3: Burnout

Sometimes you over-commit yourself to a hobby so much that it stops being fun.

Lucina on stage during the costume contest: photo credit https://www.facebook.com/buddycosplay/

I want to start out by saying that I don’t regret pushing to finish Lucina. It was the right call to get me back on track, and it would have been incredibly demoralizing to not get to wear her at least once before this con season ended. Not only that, I had an amazing time wearing her (for a brief period) at Otaktuhon, and even though I didn’t win any awards, I got some amazing feedback and I couldn’t be happier seeing pictures of me up on that stage. But the process of getting her done for such a tight deadline was not that much fun.

There are lots of variables to why I was so behind: it’s been a difficult year with family issues, I over-committed myself on event staffing, and I struggled with health/anxiety issues. I moved and had to figure out a new schedule/how do I adult/wait the food doesn’t magically appear in my fridge and cook itself. I learned I’m often too tired after work, chores, daily stuff etc to make any significant process, and that work/life/friends/family balance is much harder to achieve than I thought it was. I also struggled with the costume itself, and had to remake several of the pieces (even large ones like the sword) as I worked. I was a cosplay hermit for most of the month of July, working on Lucina and disregarding everything else. Last night was the first night in a long, long time that I actually grocery shopped and cooked, how scary is that??

Myself as Lucina and my friend as Robin roaming the halls. Photo credit https://www.facebook.com/DonDolcePhotography/

On the Monday before the con, I was about 90% finished with the costume, and somehow pulled a miracle to finish that last 10%. That miracle came at a heavy price of insane stress and little sleep. I had to take time off work because I was so stressed out that I couldn’t sleep, and was a miserable wreck for most of the week. Those feelings bled into the first couple of days of the con where I genuinely just did not want to wear Lucina because I felt like she wasn’t good enough, even after all that hard work and weeks of nothing but coswork, because I knew she wasn’t where she should be at and I felt like a failure. In reality, the failure wasn’t the costume, but the unrealistic expectations I set for myself given how difficult of a year it’s been.

Backstage selfies with another Fire Emblem cosplayer <3

I powered through, I wore her, and I had a fantastic time wearing what I like to call Lucina 1.0. But the buildup to the event was not even remotely fantastic, and the burnout is real. I need to start respecting that I can’t power through things like I used to: it just isn’t my style and it isn’t healthy. Crafting is a ton of fun, but crafting on unreasonable deadlines just makes me cry. I need my 8 hours of sleep a night to maintain my sanity, and time to think things through and be able to fix any mistakes that happen. I need to be able to cook & clean, hit the gym and see my friends. Cosplay is fun, but I need that balance or it stops being relaxing and just becomes another source of stress in my life, which isn’t good.

My current plan is to relax for a bit, enjoy Lucina pictures as they filter in, and start planning for next year’s con season so I don’t end up in a time crunch like I did this one (hopefully). I need to revisit Lucina at some point, but for now the burnout monster says put her aside, and start on something fresh and exciting. This year I’m going to be more reasonable, and have more fun.

~ Eva


  1. It’s not very fun to feel that a hobby is becoming less fun, once you start to see it as a chore it can be an uphill struggle to change your mindset. Juggling real life commitments is just as taxing when your hobby turns into a part-time job.

    I hope you aim to take a breather and return renewed.

  2. I can only imagine the work necessary to make such a perfect cosplay made real and I balk at the thought of ever putting that much effort into it almost immediately. Much praise and respect to you!

    • Eva

      August 13, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Ahhh thank you so much!! ;u; It was a very long commitment, not one I want to repeat any time soon haha

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