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Hi, I'm Arjun
The Founder/Voice of DisplayZen
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a product & user focused creator

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- Product Creation (psychology, design & strategy)
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4 phases of the creator journey (ideation to creation)

The DZ Letter
8 min
Today's Snapshot

> The 4 phases

> Excitement

> Experimenter vs Finisher

Read time : 8 min

Hey there, Arjun here

Today's topic: The 4 phases of the creator journey

Phase 1 - Find + Plant Seeds

Seeds = Opportunities

Seeds, as a metaphor, can be split into two distinct categories: seeds you plant and seeds you find.

The seeds you find encompass a vast array of elements such as ideas, building blocks, phrases, topics, thoughts, and more. They represent the sparks of inspiration that ignite our creativity and serve as the foundation for our actions.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the seeds you plant. These seeds are the intentional actions you take to materialize the ideas you've discovered, bringing them to life.

The world is teeming with countless seeds waiting to be found, waiting to be planted. The more seeds you plant, the greater your chances of cultivating something extraordinary.

The seeds you plant will reveal itself over time.

Just as in nature, placing too much emphasis or dismissing it prematurely will hinder its natural growth and might undermine its entire enterprise.

However, there is an essential factor that determines the fate of these seeds: watering them with focus.

Just like a seed that doesn't receive water, a lack of focus towards your work will cause it to die.

Focus is the nourishment that fuels growth and development. As you embark on your creative journey, the work will gradually reveal itself.

It unfolds as you go, each step leading to new insights and opportunities.

Phase 2 - Experimentation

Seeds and experimentation go hand in hand, forming a symbiotic relationship that fuels the creative process. Experimentation itself is a journey with a starting and ending point.

The starting point is the act of planting of seeds.

There are multiple periods in the phase of experimentation ↓

The first period is the most fun, riskless, and ruleless. There is very little at stake when you first start. Try as much as you can. Take on risk when you have less responsibilities at stake.

Set up an environment where the decision-making happens free of the misguiding force of persuasion - Rick Rubin.

This is an opportune moment to take risks and push boundaries, unencumbered by the fear of failure.

The second phase is the nurturing of the seeds with attention, focus and care (all 3 having its own purpose).

Each of these elements plays a distinct role in the nurturing process ↓

1. Attention
involves observing and assessing the growth and development of the seeds, acknowledging their unique characteristics and needs.

2. Focus enables you to dedicate your energy and resources to the most promising seeds, providing them with the necessary support and nourishment.

3. Care involves tending to the seeds with intention and mindfulness, recognizing that they require ongoing commitment and nurturing to thrive.

The third phase is the mix of choosing to focus on a few of the hundreds of seeds planted in the past few months, or even years and marking the end point of experimentation as you go into a new period in your life.

As you navigate the realms of productization, branding, and the digital economy, experimentation becomes a vital tool for uncovering new opportunities, refining strategies, and uncovering novel insights.


Excitement serves as a reliable guidepost when selecting which seed to focus on during Phase 3 of experimentation.

It acts as an internal pedometer, measuring the level of energy and enthusiasm you experience towards a particular seed (action and opportunity).

As time passes and you reflect on your journey, you will start to see the dots connecting, understanding why certain seeds evoke that emotional response of excitement.

This retrospective view provides valuable insights into the seeds that resonate with you on a deeper level, highlighting their potential for growth and success.

Once the experimentation phase reaches its conclusion, a new period in your creative life begins—the phase of crafting the seeds you have found valuable.

Unlike the earlier phases where there was more openness and less at stake, this period requires a significant increase in effort and focus.

Phase 3 - The craft  (Productization)

Crafting involves the convergence of creative thinking, where you synthesize the ideas and knowledge gained through experimentation into a tangible and valuable product or offering.

This phase holds immense importance as it differentiates between execution and strategy, and actually seeing the work through to completion.

Finding seeds is the synthesis of thoughts. Planting seeds is the formulation of an idea. Nurturing the seed is the crafting of the work. The work may mean products, posts, content, e.t.c.

Regardless, productization = the distribution of value.

Productization lies at the core of this crafting phase.

It is the process of transforming ideas, insights, and discoveries into tangible products, services, or content that delivers value to others.

It requires careful consideration and strategic thinking to translate the potential of the seeds into something practical and impactful.

This period demands dedication, discipline, and perseverance to navigate the challenges and complexities that arise during the crafting process.

This phase represents the culmination of the journey from finding seeds to planting and nurturing them. It is the realization of the potential that was discovered through experimentation.

As you invest more effort and focus into the crafting phase, you bring your ideas to life, transforming them into offerings that resonate with your target audience.

Phase 4 - Momentum

Momentum is the next logical phase after crafting phase. This is where you will be utilizing the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to continue and finish the work you started.

Throughout this phase, it is important to prioritize curiosity, creativity and most importantly to have fun through it. This may sometimes lead back to experimentation.

Momentum is fueled by the sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction that arises from seeing your work take shape. It acts as a driving force that pushes you to continue and finish what you started.

Spending too much time in the crafting period may also yield negative effects such as disconnection, loss of enthusiasm and increased connection with an unfinished product.

This in turn causes a disservice to the product in hand.

Another problem you may face is that the vision in mind is greater than the skillset of the creator. This disconnect may also increase the time between strategy and execution.

The logical answer to this is to either increase your skillset (my preferred method) or by outsourcing it to human or artificial intelligence.

This can ultimately undermine the quality of the work in hand.

The Experimenter and The Finisher

This often leads to two different archetypes: the Experimenter and the Finisher.

The Experimenter thrives in the crafting and exploring phase, constantly generating new ideas and possibilities. However, they may struggle when it comes to releasing their work and bringing it to completion.

On the other hand, the Finisher excels at reaching the endpoint with clarity and efficiency but may lack the inclination for extensive experimentation in the earlier stages.

Both the Experimenter and the Finisher can benefit from embracing elements of the other's approach.

For the Experimenter, the emphasis lies in learning to bring their work to completion. While they excel at generating ideas and exploring various avenues, they may find it difficult to transition from the experimentation phase to the final execution. This can result in a backlog of unfinished projects or a reluctance to share their work with the world.

The Finisher can benefit from adopting a more experimental mindset. The Finisher moves to the end point with immediate clarity without too much experimentation in the earlier phases.

This may limit their willingness to explore alternative paths and potentially discover even better solutions.

By incorporating elements of experimentation into their process, Finishers can open themselves up to new perspectives, insights, and creative breakthroughs.

They can allocate time for brainstorming, idea generation, and trying out different approaches before settling on a final outcome.

There should be a balance between exploration and completion.

So, which one are you?

Okay.. Now What?

These are the 6 phases of The Creator Journey through the lens of productization and branding. It could also be referred to as The Creative Process.

Just like your life, your career and business rolls out in phases. You cannot skip each phase. You can only reduce or increase the time spent in each phase.

But remember: Every phase is important in the journey.

And if you've got a moment, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this edition of The DZ Letter.

Send me a quick message - I reply to every email!

Liked what you read? Share The DZ Letter with your friends to help spread the value.

Have a wonderful rest of your day and see you in the next letter, my friends.


Arjun, DisplayZen

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