There’s nothing like finding a hobby you really love; one that resonates and keeps you fulfilled and busy when you need exactly that.

And after you’ve been doing something for awhile, you can forget what it was like to be new yourself – which is exactly why newbies stick out like a sore thumb.

These 17 serious hobbyists are sharing how they can pick out newcomers without even trying.

17. It happens to the best of us.

“First project! I’m making a baby blanket!” Crochet. And I can say this because I did this as well. It takes much longer than it seems like it should to make a blanket*.

I’ve been crocheting for close to 20 years now and I still suck at finishing baby blankets, haha! Hoard yarn and start 12 WIPs that I rotate through as one bores me? Heck yes.

16. It’s more than fish.

People buy fish the same day they buy their tank.

Unfortunately, to start a fish aquarium, you need to cycle your tank (grow bacteria that will eat the poison ammonia that fish poop causes and turn it into nitrate). This is best done without fish and can take a few weeks to a month or more. However, most people come into the hobby saying “I have a fish! Now what?” … 🙁

You learn that fish keeping is more about maintaining water that fish just happen to live in. It’s a lot like learning chemistry more than just feeding fish.

15. Every single time.

“Hi guys, I’m looking to buy a CNC router. My requirements:

I want to cut aluminum, steel, titanium, and unobtanium

I’m looking for precision within .001mm at least, but .0001mm would be better

I need a bed at least 1m by 2m, but 2m by 4m would be better

Automatic tool changing is a plus, but not strictly required

My budget is $1000. Which machine would be best for me?

14. You have to care for your pets.

I have a hobby goat farm. I say hobby because I got them all as babies, so they’re just money pits at the moment (all about 8 months old right now).

In the meantime, I’ve damn near made a career out of clipping hooves for other people who got a ton of goats and didn’t know that they required hoof maintenance. The poor things are usually in a lot of pain by the time I get to them.

Research your animals, people.

13. Just let it be.

Underbaking bread because they’re afraid to burn it. It won’t burn that fast! Just leave it in the oven!

ETA: I just want to say, for all the droves of people saying “undercooked is better than burnt”: the window between undercooked and burnt, with bread, is vast. If you like raw dough, sure, good on you, but bread doesn’t go from undercooked to burnt in a split second the way other things do.

If your bread is still pale on the outside, you can leave it in for at least another 10-15 minutes without it being “burnt”, and that’s being really conservative with my timings.

12. Heavy sigh.

Them: I got a mic. I’m just going to do it on the side. Make some extra money.

Me: Okay, do you want to do ads or something?

Them: No, I want to voice anime and cartoons.

PSA: Want to make money at voice-over? Do ads. Want to voice animation? Get an agent and good luck.

11. For free, of course.

“I have a great idea for a new board game. I have never made a board game before. It’s like a combination of Monopoly and Risk but I don’t want to give more details because I don’t want someone to steal my idea. Can anyone make art for my Kickstarter? I’ll give you credit!”

10. Not if you want to wear it.

Bulk acrylic yarn. It’s cheap and great for practise, but you quickly learn that it’s not particularly comfortable.

9.  Be careful what you wish for.

If they’re thinking about making a small business based around a crafting hobby. I tend to see a lot of people begin talking about making a small business out of hobbies they haven’t even started yet, or are very early into it.

I love knitting. It’s one of my favourite things to do. I would not do it for money. The amount of effort I would have to put in would not make it fun anymore. I posted a pair of socks I’d made for myself the other day, and one of my friends said “You should make those to sell!” which sounds great until you find out that it took $50 of premium yarn and 40 hours of my time to make a single pair.

8. Keep it simple at first.

They want to make incredibly overly complicated recipes, OR they want to 100% exactly replicate one of the best beers in the world.

They’re almost paralyzed by fear of infection/contamination.

7. Don’t do this.

They google “the best…” and then they try to explain to you why that manufactured product listed in half of the links from the first google search results page is “the best.”

6. First drafts are always crap.

They ask one of the 10 or so questions that get posted almost daily to r/writing, or they just assume they know everything already and their first draft is brilliant and won’t hear anything to the contrary.

Nine times out of ten, “Could you critique my writing?” = “Tell me I’m talented and special!”

5. Things you never know until you do it.

They don’t thin their paints, or put them on the miniature in one thick coat.

Or they finish paining a price and dump wash on it without caring where it ends up.

4. Start with the nails.

Blacksmithing: “I’ve never forged anything, but I found some great spring steel so I’m going to make a sword. What else do I need?”

Ummmm…. First you need to forge 200 nails so you can learn proper hammer swings. After that you’re ready to make a bottle opener.

3. What’s the answer?

brand new guy asking a bunch of addicted gamers “hey should I buy this $100 pack”?

2. The dream that dies quickly.

They talk about turning the hobby into a business.

1. There’s still work to do.

I’m still quite a beginner myself but some will just go: “How do you create this scene?” and show really complicated compositions with countless models and complicated materials that an artist must have spent weeks on.

Some of them feel like downloading the software is already most of the work done. But this probably goes for most digital artforms.

There are some things to avoid if you want to blend in, that’s for sure.

What’s your hobby? How can you spot someone who’s new? Drop your own stories in the comments!