The Post-Project Thud

Weather didn’t cooperate to let me take pics today, hopefully tomorrow. But I finished a major, long-term beading project, a bracelet, that I’ve been working on off and on for… eep, a considerable time now. In part because it’d sit while other things took priority or I was still trying to figure out what pieces it still needed, how to attach the clasp, how long – a whole bunch of things. But the latest bunch of beads I got had some colors that fit perfectly, I finished more triangle pieces, and with the persistent bad weather the past couple days I had time to sit down and finish piecing it together. Complete with an extra row of beads allllll around the edge to tie it together, and a whole bunch of finishing knots. Wove stuff in, clipped the thread – and thud.

It’s the best word I have to describe what happens in my head when a long-term project is finally done. The world seems to go sideways a bit, and there’s an odd silence in my brain. Like I’d been ignoring a jackhammer or a bunch of chattering conversations, until they finally stopped.

(Without caffeine, I may even fall asleep. I’m definitely tempted.)

If it’s a word-based project, a story for example, then my brain is pretty much blank for a few days. Generally it’s no good to even try to write then. Better to catch up on reading, organizing notes, etc. Give it two, three days, and the bunnies will wake up again.

This was a bead-based project, so editing Seeds should still work fine. And I’d picked out some colors for a known earring design, so that should also work fine. But there’s no way I’m going to try a new earring design for a bit. My brain just wouldn’t cooperate.

Anyone else familiar with the thud? 😉

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18 thoughts on “The Post-Project Thud

  1. I know exactly what you mean. It’s just kind of a ringing silence in your brain after something that takes a lot of thought is done. I like to go outside (or to the mall, if weather’s crappy) and walk around for a bit after.

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    1. Oh yes. Happens every time I finish a big project, and them I’m useless for anything except gardening and cleaning my desk for at least two days.

      …Which is exceedingly inconvenient when there are still three weeks left in the semester and I still have another big project to finish. *headdesk*

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  2. It’s probably not the same thing (I sincerely hope not), but there are moments that come out of nowhere. Mind more or less collapses in on itself, nothing seems real, colors almost seem to fade, apathy… It can be hell trying to claw yourself out of that mindset.

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    1. Eeep, no. That’s what I call “the black dog”; like skirting the edge of a black hole. And yes, dragging yourself out is awful. I try to see if there are weeds I can yank out of the yard, for one; anything destructive you can do that’s also useful tends to help.

      Also I keep Emergency Action Fluff by the bed. Like PM Griffin’s Star Commandos books, or the Remote manga; lots of horrible stuff happens, but the good guys always win in the end.

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      1. Usually hits while I’m out and about, oddly. Worst bit’s if I’m around someone- family. If they notice something’s off, and ask why? I can’t explain it. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.

        Of course, metaphors could give a general idea, but… most people run on either literal meanings or sarcasm. Symbolism isn’t what the mind first reaches for. So if I were to say that the abyss decided to stare back…

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      2. Eep. *Nods* I keep emergency fiction. Sometimes the best thing to do is get out of your own head, and your brain’s designed to do just that in response to a good story. See “Wired for Story” by Lisa Cron for the neurology! 🙂

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  3. I am thoroughly familiar with both the “thud” and the “black dog.” Recognizing them – and the ways that they differ – was one of the things I was taught at a young age to deal with my bipolar depression.
    I managed to develop quite the gear shift system to deal with the thud, which has led to more than one person telling me that I “have too much time on my hands.” I kind of shuttle through 15-20 different hobbies and projects on a semi-random basis to keep from losing momentum. I think my worst thud happens after I finish a costume, though, probably because that’s the one I get the most manic about.
    After I finish a new costume I usually end up staring blankly at the wall for a day or so until I can get the next gear kicked into place.

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  4. The Thud. Yes, that’s a good way to describe it. I feel similarly when I’m done knitting something that’s taken months. It’s like my hands aren’t quite sure what to do with myself, after that. No good trying to plot out new versions of knitting designs then, just do something that either is thought-optional or isn’t related to knitting in any way, shape, or form. And yes, distinct from that black dog feeling of utter apathy to anything and everything, up to and including physical needs and professional work requirements.

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  5. My bunnies are never really good at //finishing// anything. They get going, and going, and yes, knock out a chapter or one-shot (or two or three or four). But then they get tangled up in, “Could do this could do that squeak!” …and proceed to turn into what I can only describe as a fanged tangle that’s pulling in about twenty directions at once.

    Best way I’ve found to get my head working again is a good //distraction//. Like a good grinder MMO where I don’t have to think, or an epic book, or a good movie. A day or two of that and the bunnies get back on some sort of track.

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  6. It’s never happened when I’ve been making something, but that’s probably a concentration thing. I tend to multitask when I knit except at the very beginning and end, but when I read I can be completely oblivious to phones, doorbells, people calling my name, etc. And I’ve felt something like this when I’ve really immersed myself in a story – rereading it over and over if it’s a standalone or immediately moving on to the next book or episode if it’s a series, because sleep, what sleep – and then it’s over and life seems very slow and quiet and strange.
    I think I try to do everyday things like making a cup of tea, or sorting the laundry then. Or I go to one of my comfort reads, in a completely unrelated genre. I’ve got enough of those that if one doesn’t hold my attention, another one will.

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  7. I can’t remember the exact thing I’m thinking about… But there are some neurochemicals that need to be replenished after intense use, so your brain tends to cut you off them rather abruptly if you have been using them up a lot. Sometimes just for a short time, sometimes until the tank fills up all the way again. Mr. Brain is a bit miserly.

    It has been speculated that this is the neural side of the common phenomenon of intense prayer and awareness of God’s presence for months on end being followed by long periods of “spiritual dryness.” (The God-side explanation commonly being that it’s good to have times of spiritual consolation followed by times of building up the will, so you’re not eating spiritual baby food all your life.) There are a lot of similar cycles with a lot of other human processes, so experiencing that with creativity wouldn’t be strange.

    Of course, that doesn’t apply to everybody. Trollope wrote 8 hours a day every day, and if he finished a novel during those 8 hours, he just started writing the next one. (He did his thinking and plotting during the long walking hours he also put in every day, so he wasn’t really such a strange beast as it sounds.)

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