Post-Paper Blues

by johnmccreery

What happens to you when you work hard on a project, and then the work is done? Do you feel like celebrating? My response is to become mildly depressed and slip into a funk. The thrashing around will continue until the next project begins to take shape. In the meantime, I am glad to have business-related stuff to work on in the inbox. Short-term focus is a lot better than no focus at all. Is this normal? Or pathological? Thoughts, anyone?


6 Comments to “Post-Paper Blues”

  1. When I finished my dissertation, I felt weary relief that the freight train had not hit me.

  2. Normal, generally after you’ve caught your breath with all the other crap you’d been putting off. It’s one reason I like to always have two projects that I’m working on, though that isn’t always enough. (It seems like I spend a good portion of my life waiting for other people to do things.)

  3. Congratulations on the paper!

    When I finished my Master’s thesis, I mostly felt exhausted and at loose ends. Everyone wanted me to celebrate, but I wasn’t in the mood. Its been that way for most big projects that pushed me to my limits and consumed my days and nights…it may not be that way so much when you can feel the product of your labor beneath your fingers. I suspect that Wade Tarzia does not experience a similar let down when he is sailing the boats he made with his hands. Or maybe he does. I should ask him.

  4. Good thoughts. One thing that seems to be working just now is picking something I’ve been meaning to get around to and doing it. Just now, for me, that means more time on the exercise bike listening to ChinesePod lessons to brush up my Mandarin and starting to relearn calculus via the Khan Academy.

  5. Yeah. I know for me one of the problems of scholarship is how not like the sailboat it is. You build this big elaborate thing and you want to invite everyone over to take a spin on it, and instead it seems like a chore to them or something to practice their ‘critical thinking’ on. It’s the most disfunctional, unsatisfying kind of community everrrrrr. Teaching and blogging are more my speed because the exchange is immediate and lets you work out payoffs together in realtime.

    I’ve also been thinking about the let-down a lot lately. I think there’s a lot to be said for daisy-chaining projects and keeping the momentum going. Because people wear me out I always feel like I want a big rest during the breaks, but if I don’t have something else I’m working on I tend to get weird and feral. I mean, more weird and feral.

  6. “Weird and feral,” that’s it, precisely.

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