A question I get asked a lot is how do I generate ideas for the blog? What is my creative process? I have been thinking about this over the last couple of weeks. The research I did for a work presentation on ‘attention’ helped me come up with the creative loop I go through in developing my blog and presentation content. I hope you will find the phases outlined below useful in creating your own content.
(1) Consuming – I can’t be creative if I don’t consume. My creativity draws from the inspirational content I consume. I consume content from books, blogs, movies, TV shows, documentaries, podcasts, music etc. All these different and varied content fuel my creativity. I strive to be an active consumer. Most folks are passive consumers. They consume and consume but there is no outlet for the content in the form of processed or refined creative outputs. There is the danger of becoming a content glutton – fat on content without any creative release. Our digital devices facilitate easy consumption of content but it is essential that one don’t stop at the consumption phase.
(2) Curating – This is my collection phase. It is the process by which I bookmark or store or record content that I find interesting or inspirational e.g. quotes, short paragraphs, ideas, illustrative stories. This could be something I read in a book or via a mobile device. It could also be something that I heard via a podcast or watched on the telly. There are several digital tools and apps that I use to store these types of content. My current favourite four are Diigo, Evernote, Notability, and Tumblr. I also curate interesting content the old fashion way – via pen and paper. I have a hard-covered notebook in which I occasionally jot interesting content that could be reused in a blog post or presentation. The stuff I curate might not get used for weeks, months or even years. I like the comfort of knowing that they are easily accessible when I want to use them.
(3) Connecting – This is my conceptual phase. I learnt that creative people are able to make interesting connections between seemingly different ideas to produce new ones. My goal of curating many ideas and content from different sources is so that I can cross-connect or mash them up to produce something new. The act of synthesizing and remixing these ideas forces me to look at what I have curated in a creative way.
(4) Creating – This is my production phase. The conversion of blog ideas into blog posts. It is the sitting my butt unto a seat and crafting words that make sense as well as enlighten. The editing and polishing of multiple drafts can sometimes feel like squeezing water from a rock. Creating enables me to contribute something to the global internet space. It is up to folks to either engage with it or ignore/reject it. I have no power over readers’ reaction to my creative outputs. I am only responsible for putting out the best stuff I can create at that moment in time.