I sometimes believe that writing is like those natural phenomena described as sensitive to initial conditions. If a meteorologist starts with one data set and feeds it into a predictive model, they conclude with a weather forecast for the coming days. Suppose that the same meteorologist begins with conditions that appear along the path of that prediction and feeds that data into the same computer program. In that case, an entirely different forecast may result. This factor makes long-range forecasting nearly impossible.
Try this experience as a writer. Pick a sentence from one of your essays, poems, or short stories and use it as the starting point for a new piece. Where does it end up? Is it the same story or an entirely new creation? Of course, some readers may respond that they already knew that writing is a chaotic process, even if not in this scientific sense.
In natural systems, this phenomenon is called the “butterfly effect.” Meteorologist Edward Lorenz discovered this effect while working with predictive models. His brief biography in the Encyclopedia Britanica.com includes an animated video that gives a rapid-fire but more complete description of the phenomenon.