November 28, 2011

On Distraction and Frustration

I was supposed to be taking part in the Fall Book Club discussion of The Scorpio Races over at Words on Paper (you should check it out), but I got a little distracted and didn't finish it. Not even close, actually. I'm about halfway in and it's definitely well-written and interesting, but for a variety of reasons I didn't make it. 

Which leads me to the first part of this post's title: DISTRACTION (the good and the bad). All of those great and not-so-great things that have been keeping me from writing, getting lost in a good book, and just generally getting anything useful done.

What's distracting me these days (the GOOD):
  • The Christmas season and all that that entails - decorating, visiting, watching Christmas movies, shopping, thinking about sending out cards, baking, and tidying up.
  • Having my husband home from work for an entire week! This is the best kind of 'distraction', for sure 
  • Planning for my mom's visit in a couple weeks (so excited about this!). There will be tea parties, Christmas movie-watching, and Christmas shopping going on over here.

What's distracting me these days (the BAD):
  • Just general time-wastage on the internet (I'm looking at you Pinterest and Twitter).
  • Spending an entire afternoon and evening trying to come up with the right combination of lights for my Christmas tree, from the box of decorations. Grrr...more on that later.
  • 'Researching' and looking for 'inspiration' for my current WIP. It's a lie I keep telling myself while I'm wasting so much time on the web. Missed my NaNo goal by a lot.

On the topic of FRUSTRATION... There are two things that are currently frustrating me:
1) My Christmas tree and the whole Christmas lights debacle. I have many strands of Christmas lights, but none of them seem to be the right combination. I won't elaborate, but I actually ended up walking away from my tree in frustration last night for the first time ever. It's still sitting downstairs in all of its plasticky, artificially glory waiting to be dealt with (seriously, it smells like glue gun). It is a pretty nice tree, though, so I can't complain about that.

And then there's that other thing that makes me mad at myself for having a tantrum over something so stupid as a wrestling match with Christmas lights...

2) A complete loss of perspective, especially at this time of year. We don't really have Black Friday up here in Canada. A couple businesses originating in the U.S. do throw us a bone, but most don't (we still shop like crazy people). I have nothing against participating in Black Friday sales - I'd be among the ranks if I lived in the U.S. - but I do have a problem when it becomes what Christmas is all about. When I hear stories of women pepper-spraying fellow shoppers to get that last video game, I have one of those "Is this what it's really all about?" moments (like Cindy Lou Who in the real people version of The Grinch). When [THIS] and [THIS] is going on in the world, how can [THIS] happen, and during a time of year when giving and showing 'goodwill toward men' is supposed to be the name of the game? Oh, and not to mention the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
A life-changing goat.

I'm not trying to cast a cloud on the festivities (I this time of year), but I am reminding myself and anyone else who's interested to remember how fortunate we are. To try to keep this notion foremost in my mind and to hopefully make some small difference in someone's life, I'm going to buy a pig or a goat or some other useful thing(s) for someone in need. I'm doing this through Compassion, but there are many other organizations that focus on addressing very real needs around the world. Here are a couple others:

Red Cross
Samaritan's Purse (they also do Operation Christmas Child)

P.S. There are also lots of other useful ways to help out like donating or volunteering at soup kitchens, food drives, Coats For Kids, etc.


  1. I am right there with you - I had planned to spend several days editing...instead I played flash games and got distracted by TV, movies, etc. I basically did everything BUT edit.

  2. I purposely stayed home from all the sales because of the obnoxious consumer mentality. Stores like Target and Kohl's are now open at midnight on Friday after Thanksgiving, which means their employees have to get there by 10:30 or 11 Thanksgiving night to prepare. Plus if you're working overnight, it means you probably had to nap during half your Thanksgiving day to get ready to work all night. I am not cool with that.

    So, I'm just one person staying home, but I don't want to contribute to that mentality. I am a deal & coupon shopper, and one thing I learned in past years is that many (not all but many) of the deals offered the day after are repeated or just as good in the coming weeks. So a few key items aren't, but to me it is not worth it to brave mob mentality to get a $4 DVD of a crummy Katherine Heigl movie.

    I'm now armed with my coupons and plan to shop the sales at my own convenience this month.

    Good luck with writing - don't be too hard on yourself about the distractons!

  3. I sometimes wonder if we should just give each other nice gifts throughout the year to take the focus off of gift-getting at Christmas. Unfortunately, for some people that *is* all Christmas is about.

    I'm sure there's a great story waiting to be written from your Christmas tree light frustrations. Perhaps thinking of it that way will ease the annoyance? :)

  4. I totally agree that people need perspective this time of year. It's so easy to get caught up in finding the perfect presents (and attempting to stay within budgets in a tight economy) and forget to 1) find joy in it 2) spread good tidings, not pepper spray.

  5. I'm with you on general time wasting online, unfortunately. I'm buckling down, though, with a new goal: Finish my rewrite before my hubby returns in February.

    Thanks for the reminder on perspective. You are right on as usual, and I'm looking forward to checking out Compassion and the other organizations you linked.

  6. Great post. We all need to step back and be grateful...not zombie-shopper crazy. Also, I too am distracted :( Bleh.


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