Writer’s Block: The Noise Model

The phenomenon of writer’s block is interesting. The fact that it exists – that inspiration comes in spurts and that writing often follows all at once – implies that the creative process, however it works, is not reliable. Indeed, writing for this author has many of the same characteristics as noise: utterly unpredictable, fractally complex in its efficiency, micro-blocks in the middle of floods of ideas and occasional sentences in the middle of a “block.”

(To some extent, this makes sense: if you assume that you have some chance of coming up with your next idea every second, then indeed writing should be a stochastic process.)

And yet, clearly we observe that some people are more creative than others, that some things are inspiring, that we work better under some conditions than others; this is rather like hitting on your next idea “manually,” finding something interesting rather than waiting for an idea to come to you.

Together, this suggests that we might model creativity as noise, with a cap (typing speed, usually, or thought-speed) beyond which further amplitude is wasted, and a total gain, a magnification. Inspiration just increases the “gain,” so mild spurts become great enough to be useful…

Hm. Test: do writing patterns really have fractal complexity? If I actually do the timing test, will I end up with something that looks like noise to a sound artist?


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