untitled note

Nicholas Chen friday, october 15, 2021


For any creative endeavor - writing, art, music, etc - the internet has made it easier to acquire specific techniques. It is now possible to learn advanced skills from experts in a field, be that cool guitar licks or subtle photoshop tricks.
The result is that it's easy to pick up creative "tricks" (musical licks, artistic techniques/flourishes, writing gimmicks), but much more difficult to compose those tricks into a cohesive whole.
I wonder if it'd be possible to create a generalizable theory of composition that holds across different creative fields. Is there anything about the composition of a good novel that is comparable to the composition of a good song? At least one thing comes to mind - pacing is important for both. Perhaps this is because both a novel and a song are consumed "over time." This may not hold for art forms like paintings, sculptures or photographs, which capture an instant in time and are consumed "all at once."questions aesthetics music art writing
Somewhat related: People have pointed towards the increased popularity of a certain compositional technique in postmodernity: pastiche, or the imitation of another artist's style. I'm not sure if you could say the phenomenon of "remixing" is the same, but it feels similar, and the internet has made remixing incredibly common. New mediums like short-form video (TikTok, IG, Youtube shorts), Twitter, and collage explicitly encourage recombination.

Bad at writing

If I were a good writer, I'd write out my ideas beautifully instead of building them out in code. Maybe it's good then, that I'm so clumsy with my words. On auteurs and language

Quiet work

I feel that I've become less talkative as I've started dedicating more time to my projects. There's nothing to really talk about - lots of things to do, but nothing to really talk about. personal-reflection code
I've tried developing an inner sense of certainty and confidence in what I'm making, and it's helped greatly. Faced with a challenging problem or bug, I no longer feel intimidated. It's not that I've gotten smarter or better at programming, though I'm sure I've made some progress. It's more that I feel completely certain that the problem/bug needs to be addressed, and that it can be addressed. In fact, I think confidence is maybe the wrong word - it's more a quiet, stoic acceptance of the task at hand. personal-reflection code
In general, I think a lot of what distinguishes an experienced programmer from a novice one is not always technical ability, but a certain emotional/mental frame. Programming takes a lot of emotional intelligence - not a surprise for anyone who's ever wanted to toss their laptop through a window trying to solve a bug. personal-reflection code