Thursday, December 15, 2011

Post-Project Blues

Last night we held the Christmas dinner for all the Mom volunteers at Jack's school.

It's always a beautiful evening...it's potluck, candlelight, tablecloths, and an open bar. The boys choir performs and there's magic in the air as those healthy, handsome young boys sing the worlds' Christmas carols. It's a really lovely affair and a nice respite for all the moms in the midst of the holiday rush.

In years' past, we have had a few door prizes that the attendees had a chance to win. This year, my committee thought...wouldn't it be nice if we put the money that went into door prizes into a gift for everyone...so that each attendee went home with something?

That's where the note cards come in that I mentioned last week. We decided on five final designs and each note card set would have one of each.


The printing estimates to have them printed professionally came back at $450...way too much money. So, they asked, could I print it on my little $99 Epson? Sure, but it would take a ton of ink...and in order to get good print quality, I'd have to use Epson paper. I even worried that my little all-on-one five year old printer might decide to give out under the workload...

We decided to go for it. So for the past three or four days, I printed...and we cut, collated, and stuffed 1,125 cards into crystal clear envelopes. And the total price including all my paper, ink and labels was about $225...or approximately $1 per five note cards. My friend found a great deal on envelopes online...I think she paid $20 for 1,000 envelopes. We were on a roll...


Even the elf sticker on the back of the package was fun to make, coloring the elf's jacket in the school blue and putting the logo on her shirt...

Walking into the event last night and seeing all 225 sets of cards laid out on each table...and hearing the delight of the receivers...well, that made it all worthwhile. The cards were a hit and our team felt a huge sense of accomplishment. A deep exhale, a sigh of relief, a job well done.

So, why is it, that I wake up this morning in the complete doldrums? Why, do I feel inexplicably sad? Shouldn't I have a skip in my step and be delighted from our accomplishment?

But I don't. I definitely have a big case of the post-project blues. And what the heck am I going to do about it? I can't afford to have the blues...I have too much to do! Yet I feel like crawling back into bed and going to sleep.

It has to be a physiological or chemical response, right? It has to be the body's natural "crash" after all the adrenalin and excitement and happy juice that comes from the process of creating?

I found lots of references to the problem when I googled "post-project depression"...but hardly any solutions.

What to do about it? Maybe a long walk?

Do you all have advice for the post-project blues? How do you segue from one large task to the next and mitigate this intermediate step?

Is it even possible...? Or should I embrace it for what it is and wait it out...

Looking forward to a happier (and more productive *please*) tomorrow.

[Actually...I think writing this post is helping...]

31 comments:

Ralonda said...

I like to do something totally fun and off task. Warning...it will put you behind on the rest of what HAS to be done but at least you will have a bounce when you do them! Total Rebellion! that's my cure!

MosaicMagpie said...

I have a great solution, since I have plenty of UFO's, why don't I send you one? You can have a new project and get out of your doldrums! Remember what Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day", you will be back looking to start a new lovely project! Enjoy the let down, put your feet up and drink a cup of tea.
Deb

Judy S. said...

You without any ideas? Can't even begin to imagine that! December sure is a short moth though, isn't it? Next year I'm going to start sooner. (Heard that before, haven't you?) BTW, I didn't know you were a Capricorn! (Don't think DD will hold out till Jan. 7th, but who knows?)

kaiteM said...

it's all to do with post-project adrenalin letdown, you'll be better tomorrow but in the meantime have a good meal with carbs and a bit of protein, and rest for today.
hugs, k.

Gerry Krueger said...

I do exactly what your body is wanting you to do... I crawl back into bed, put a good audio book on, pull the covers to my chin and meditate... It always works...eventually I get bored and leap out of bed...

Allison Ann Aller said...

What I do for PPD is exercise first, then pull out fabrics and play with them as if I am going to make a quilt block. The fabrics always give me back my mojo!

But I don't put pedal to the metal so hard like you...maybe a good easy read on the couch for a few hours will do the trick!

Anyways, the cards are fabulous!

Ingrid Mida said...

Dear Susan,
This happens to me on a regular basis because I seem to face big deadlines all the time. I find the key is to anticipate the blues and then do nothing for a day - luxuriate in bed, read trashy magazines and watch tv - all the things that I never have time to do. Then the next day (if I have time), I make plans to go to a museum. Seeing works of art inspires me to get back at it!
Be easy on yourself. You do so much for so many. Take a day to treat yourself.

Daffycat said...

That gift rocks, Susan! Well done!

I get that way after almost every project. Best thing for me is to start something new. Even if it is only the "start" of "planning" a new project.

fullnovembermoon said...

The best thing I have found is two fold. One is to think of someone you know who maybe gets lost in the shuffle, helps everyone else before they help themselves. The tireless doer kind of person? I then think of a little something I could make in an afternoon that would totally make their day. An ornament, a card, something. I get out my supplies and sort of gather what I need out of my stuff and then put it together with a hot drink (in my jammies if I'm still in need of downtime). It's inspiring and energizing to not have a deadline, not know what you'll make but know that whatever it is this person will appreciate it. Just a nice surprise for someone.

Vicki W said...

That happens to me too and I just use the time to rest and re-energize. I nap, read my magazine, watch movies....whatever but I don't work on anything new for a couple of days. Sometimes I even clean a closet! Cookies also help a lot.

Catherine said...

Take a moment, reflect on your project and the memories - then get back on that project horse and start the next one!!

Suztats said...

I think it happens to every creative person. Julia Cameron of "The Artist's Way" writes that it's because we have emptied our well of creativity, and now we need to refill it by taking an artist date and doing something by yourself such as going to a museum, window shopping, going to a fabric shop, etc. We need to re-energize, re-inspire, rekindle our excitement by exposing ourselves to other artistic works, or getting some visual candy of stuff that excites us.
I surf blogland and see what other artists are creating, or else I play with my stash of material, beads, threads, or look through my CQ magazine........
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season, and sparks of creativity!

Cathy K said...

I think this is how the phrase “Go with the Flow” came to be, LOL. Listen to your body. Rest, vegetate, think on things. Enjoy the sights (snow? lights?), sounds (carols?) and smells (evergreen, baking) of the season. For sure enough, tomorrow will whack you upside the head and you will have 1,428 more projects to finish by day before yesterday. :-) A modern woman’s Christmas. Enjoy. Hugs, Cathy

Wendy said...

Your cards are lovely! I always pick up a good book, make a cuppa and relax on the sofa for a while. Always works for me....that or a long soak in the tub with candles and bubbles.

Carol said...

By the time I comment, I'm sure you'll be over it. I am equally sure that your cure involved a little quiet time with a good cup of tea and a bit of meditation and then anticipation.

There's one thing about you, Susan. You don't sit still for very long!!
Merry Christmas
xx, Carol

SeamedUP said...

I know how you feel! It's not that you don't 'have' projects to work on - but you just don't have the mojo - it's spent.

I usually end up in my studio - and organizing. I truly love to fold my fabric so it looks 'like a store' and I also love to go through my notions and gadgets just to 'see'....

And then, when I'm ready again - I begin.

verobirdie said...

Crawl back in bed for a while, no matter what you should be doing instrad. Then take a big breakfast with a cup of tea. Enjoy the sight through the window, and slow.y start to do whatever you like (not whatever you are supposed to do)
In short, take a break and pamper yourself. You'll be soon better

Sheila said...

What a beautiful, thoughtful thing to do! Hmmm. Battery need charging? Refill the well, so to speak. Call up a dear friend I haven't seen for a while, see if they are up for lunch. Sometimes if it's peace and quiet I'm needing, I'll go to the movies by myself and take in a show. Sometimes I like to drive over to one of our big nearby museums and see what's showing, or like many of the other commenters stated, read a book with a cup of coffee (though that would be tea for you, huh?)

It's a normal delay though. One expends so much energy pushing through to the finish on a large project. You get a little muzzy by the very end. :)

But you were asking for suggestions. Hmmm. Go find something pretty - ribbon, bead, picture, stone, leaf, nut, ornament, and hook it up with a square of fabric that gives you a tingle of excitement, that thrill of something looks kinda intriguing. And the point is not to know where it will go, but simply to enjoy that there is something that is exciting about it, and put it away, until it niggles at you like a Christmas present waiting to be opened. And then go do the things you have to do, but then you'll have the fun anticipation of thinking about it to tide you over until the holidays are over.

Or sit on the couch, read a book, and have a cup of tea. :) (Somehow I stumbled on the Hare with the Amber Eyes, and it looks *fascinating* - can't wait to read it...)

Wishing you a speedy battery charging.

Mouse said...

you hit the nail on the head post doldrums as you haven't got that adrenalin to give you the umph .. sooo get out your goodies and have a play and see what goes together and get those cogs working and you will feel much better ohhh and don't forget a cuppa :) love mouse xxx

kaiteM said...

Just checking back in to see how you're going, i hope you're seeing daylight again now.

Rachel said...

I curl up in a corner with a good book and a cup of tea. Although sometimes I start planning the next project...

Anonymous said...

The only way that I've found to get past the blues is to start working again. When I finish one project, I usually either have another project that I've already started working on or I have one set up ready to go. And then I just dive in. If I let myself, the blues will keep me idle for too long and then it becomes much harder to start back up again.

Celeste

Elizabeth said...

An Artists date is the ticket- go to one of your favorite shops and browse or call a friend and meet for a cup of tea and a good catch up chat or curl up in bed with a good book and take a nap- let your body recharge- don't feel bad about having the low energy- you need thee time to refill your creative juices tank!! the cards are fabulous and your Epson really came thru!!! Brava Chica!!!

Laura/readerwoman said...

Tea and Chocolate always works for me - along with a good book and a half a day of doing absolutely nothing but relaxing!

Sandy said...

I completely understand the post project depression. I do not create to have a finished project I create because it brings me joy, once the project is done, to some extent so is the joy. The one thing that works for me on my stitching projects is to tidy the studio and put away all of my supplies. In doing this I always seem to run across a UFO, a piece of special lace, a yummy thread, a silky fabric that seems to side track the doldrums and sparks some sort of stitching desire. Thank you so much for your blog. You are such a talented needle artist, but even more, have the ability to express what's in a stitchers heart.
The joy is in the stitching!
Sandy

Nicki Lee said...

Fabulous job on your cards - I can see why they were a hit!

I thought I was the only one who got this way once I finished a project - much like when I finish a good book. Want it over but then DON'T. I usually turn to reading Blogs to see what others are up to and that gets my mojo in full steam to be creative again.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a wonderufl and happy 2012!

Elmsley Rose said...

There are so many suggestions already.....personally I'd have a bit of a break (a good book) then look at patterns to get inspired....taking time over it and waiting until 'project excitement' hits again. You can't be creative non-stop. Maybe Christmas is a good excuse for a creative break?
You've worked so hard all year!

Hélène said...

Well Susan, assuming you didn't take advantage of the open bar (giggle), it must be "post-project depression" and I think the best cure for this is... BIG HUGS !

Lots of love.

coral-seas said...

So sorry it has taken me so long to see this post and comment. I hate those PP blues, they are so whack. You should be on cloud nine, revelling in your success, instead you are feeling totally BLAH!

The cards are a lovely idea and I agree, it is so much nicer for everyone to go home with a little something, especially when that little something has been so carefully thought out and put together. Well done you and all the team that helped.

Hopefully, by now you are completely out of the doldrums and sailing on the sea of creativity again.

You've had some great advice and I have tried many of these ideas when I have had the blues. I think that main thing is to follow your whim; do nothing, curl up with a good book, pamper yourself, visit with a friend, whatever takes your fancy. If the creative urge is still not stirring, I think you should take down one or more of your project boxes, not to get started on any of them, just to go through all of the lovely goodies you have collected in them and remind yourself of what you are going to do with then oneday - but not today. I'll bet all of that loveliness will kick start your mojo.

Or better still - go and find your Peacock Purse, play with those beautiful sparklies and get beading :-)

JoWynn Johns said...

Since I saw this post the day you published it, I know that you are well and truly over the blues. As everyone else has commented, the cards are wonderful.

Wishing you a joyful holiday season. A

JoWynn Johns said...

And keep writing and posting as the cure for blues!!!

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