Three phases of creative production

(Excerpt from some old research notes.)

  1. Gathering raw materials
    • Through reading and consuming media, listening to others, thinking aloud in conversations, or just pure contemplation, the user gathers a bundle of ideas and related experiences that start to point to some insight or further idea.
    • A lot of creative value comes from this very unstructured stage of creation where ideas are gathered without any goal directed work. This I call "simmering".
  2. Active thinking
    • In the active thinking phase, the user looks at the gathered raw materials and tries to form structure out of them to produce something that's coherent and clear and perhaps even actionable.
    • This implies and requires a "sense-making" process, of going from unstructured information to emerging a structure out of it.
    • In the process of active thinking, even more raw materials may be gathered, perhaps in a goal-directed way. Information may also be discarded or deemed no longer relevant.
  3. Production
    • For the user to create some creative work/output from ideas or insights gathered during active thinking, it must be crystallized into a form that can facilitate communication. This I call "drafting" or "production" and is a writing/communication process more than a thinking process. It is about serializing thought into media.
    • Production may often also serve the role of communicating with oneself, i.e. when taking notes for my future self, to remember my past thoughts.