Time confetti, according to Brigid Schulte, is all those scraps of time that add up to a number of minutes or hours that make it look like you could do more with your one wild and precious life if only you’d be more intentional.
In Schulte’s case, a very famous time scientist analyzed her time diaries and presented her with a tally that left her breathless: 30 hours. In his estimation, Schulte, a full-time journalist at The Washington Post and married mother of two (her husband is also a journalist and his stories take him overseas on the regular), has 30 hours of leisure each week – including the two hours she spent stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.
Yes, Professor Single White Grandfather Time categorized waiting for a tow truck as leisure time.
And that, I think, tells us everything we need to know about his premises and conclusions.
Kelly Diels on time.
Anecdotes like the above are why I do most of my writing on the iPhone. I’ve spoken about this before; it’s definitely a learned skill and it won’t work for everyone, but I have the attention span of a videogame-raised Millennial, so writing in short bursts of 5-20 minutes is how I do most of my work. Very occasionally I can get in a “zone”–like the one time I wrote an entire 23k novella in a single sitting–but the thing about writing professionally, in any capacity, is you don’t really have the luxury to sit around waiting for The Zone to hit you. You just kind of have to Nike it up, and get it done however that works for you. What works for me, is time confetti (a term I now love and will use constantly).
Which is not to say any of the above in any way means I disagree with Diels’ post, which is that time is a feminist issue; women still tend to be the ones who shoulder both the most time-intensive work (second- and third-shift stuff, as well as day jobs), but also the most time demanding work (children). I didn’t really understand the term “harried” until one of my close friends had a baby and I got to see, firsthand, how she started fraying at the seams the second she could no longer sit down to concentrate on anything for any length of time. For that matter, I didn’t really understand the term “second-shift” until I saw her husband amble home after a lazy day in the office, play with the baby for twenty minutes, then scold my friend for being frustrated at the baby’s crying all while patting himself on the back for what a great father he was being.
As Diels’ says in her post: women’s unrelenting labor is what makes the leisure of others. And by “others” I mean “men”. Let’s… let’s not mince words about that.
Incidentally, I should also make clear I reset the notion of “writing” being equated to “leisure”. For me, writing isn’t leisure; it’s work. “Leisure” is zoning out in front of The Secret World for a day, or drinking wine while watching anime. It’s breeding pretend dragons on Flight Rising or reading my thousandth pretend-boyfriends fanfic. At a stretch, it might be going for a walk or doing some yin yoga (though it definitely isn’t anything more strenuous). But the one thing leisure isn’t? Creative work. It’s not sketching, it’s not writing, it’s not running Werewolf: the Apocalypse games for my friends. In other words, “leisure” is not anything with output designed to be consumed by other humans, no matter how commercial (or not) that consumption is. I might enjoy the other stuff, but it’s not “leisure”.
And this is where I get to my IANAMB1 disclaimer, because I honestly think there’s something worth interrogating in there about what we consider “work” versus “leisure” and how that intersects with creativity versus “employable” labor. Like, to make it clear, my friends and I once seriously discussed hiring a DM because we all wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons (leisure), but none of us wanted to run it (work). In other words, we all intuitively recognized DMing as “work” to the point where we were willing to pay someone to perform it for us.2
I admit we’re probably a bit unusual in that regard but, on the other hand, we are the “X-as-a-Service” generation; if you can get cars-as-a-service and computers-as-a-service and shopping-as-a-service then why not creativity-as-a-service, too?
I, for one, am down with it; anything that kills deader than dead the idea that artists should starve is a-okay in my book.