Getting told you have 15 minutes to write whatever you want would sound like a dream to many writers. Good writers that is. Writers with ideas. If, like me, you’re not a generator of ideas but rather someone who can be given ideas, even contradictory ones, and run with it and spit something out the end, being told “produce something; anything” leads to crippling self-doubt and questioning about your life decisions that brought you to this point in time.
So I sit here, in front of a blank page slowly being mottled and defaced by black script, wondering if I’m doing this right, wilfully forgetting the fact that there are no hard rules, no set parameters, beyond putting word to page in some semblance of coherence. At this point the love child of boredom – at what I’m (not) writing – and procrastination sets in and the time-suck of the internet beckons.
Would Hemingway have been anything but a drunk depressive had he been a born into “Gen-Y”? Would Sartre have been fuelled by the existential realisation of contingency had he been able to sooth his angst with funny videos of cats riding Roombas? Will writers cease to make great tomes that need to be thought on and digested over stretches of time? Will literature reduce to a series of 145 character Tweets, like Dickens written for crack-babies?
Clearly I don’t have the answers, and am as much of the problem as anyone. I am inside the system; a part of it. As with all things time will sit as the ultimate arbiter.