The 3 Phases of Creation: Play ~ Polish ~ Promote

George Kao

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When doing any kind of creating — writing blog posts, making videos, or outlining a course — I recommend following these 3 phases, in order:

Play

Polish

Promote

Even the most artistic of processes can benefit from a structured approach. Especially if one cares about making an impact on others.

Whenever we get stuck on a project, or it doesn’t make an impact, we’re probably skipping one of these 3 phases… or spending too long on one of them.

Let’s take a look at these three phases.

Play

This first phase of creation is to aim for open-minded, heartfelt connection.

Practice connecting again to your deep purpose, the passion for your work, your expanded spiritual connection.

We are playing purposefully.

Therefore, also connect, in your mind and heart, with your audience — sense into their energy. What do you feel will serve them, uplift them, make a positive impact?

In this regard, Play is the integration of our passion with the enjoyment of our audience’s energy!

There’s no judgment or evaluation in this phase. It is an opportunity to practice exploration, genuine Self-expression, and heartfelt connection.

Open your consciousness to a higher (or deeper) state. Let yourself freely imagine. Bring forth — in your planning, writing, speaking, or artistry — an unfettered allowance of Spirit to flow through you, in service to your audience.

In other words, you are channeling your authentic Self, putting it into words… art… or plans.

By the way, avoid the pitfall of only creating or playing when inspired. Consistency of action towards your intentions is such an important practice. With playfulness, it may be easier for you to stick with your rhythm of creation.

If you’re writing, spend a period of time writing all the ideas about this topic that comes to you. If you’re making videos, try turning on the camera and just speaking and see what happens. You don’t have to upload or post any of it yet.

The experience of Play is magical. What was once a blank canvas will be filled with ideas that you didn’t know you could create.

It may be messy, but that’s perfectly fine at this phase — you are playing, not polishing yet!

Do your best to set aside your inner critic — they are free to work during the next phase but not during Play. Release all doubts, as you play.

Once you’ve had some set time to Play — yes, set a time limit! — and have drafted some ideas, then move to the next phase of creation.

Polish

Ideally you can play and then sleep on it first before moving on: play with your ideas for the project on one day, then on another day, come back, play a bit more, and then move right into the Polishing phase.

(Having played, then taken a break, we come back with fresh eyes to improve the initial ideas.)

Polish is where we reorder things, edit down, add relevant and interesting details, give it a once over (several times) to uplevel its presentation.

The key question that we hold here is “What would make this more helpful or delightful to the audience?”

Whereas in the first phase, our mind/heart connection to the audience is childlike play or communion without bounds — a right-brained approach — in this next phase of creation, Polish, we are exercising our left brain more.

In this phase, we think about “How can we save the audience’s time by pruning away the unnecessary, sequencing our ideas to be more understandable, and adding examples to help them integrate our ideas?”

Polish is something I do even for stage 1 content, although I do it more quickly compared to stage 2 or 3. (If you haven’t yet, read The 3 Stages of Content Creation.)

In this phase, if we are creating content, we might also consider doing some SEO work such as keyword research and rewriting our content to better align with our best keywords. In other words, help bridge the audience’s current understanding towards what we want them to know.

And of course, do a spelling and grammar check :)

Again, a time limit is helpful here. Just do some polishing, knowing that you can always improve a future version. With the time limit up, promptly move into the next phase.

Promote

I see so many creators fail to give enough energy and time to this phase.

The more you’ve poured your heart into the first two phases, the more it deserves to be properly promoted.

Make a list of all the channels where you have some influence. For example, do you have a Facebook Business Page where you can run Ads to promote your content? What about Instagram? Youtube? Email newsletter?

In the Promote phase, you are sharing your genuine excitement for this new project or this new piece of content, in service to the audience’s wants.

By promoting what you’ve created, you’ve properly completed the cycle of creation. It’s time to celebrate :)

All 3 Phases are Important

When play is skipped, the project feels like a chore.

When polish is skipped, the deliverable is sloppy.

When promotion is skipped, its impact is miniscule.

Do all three, in order:

Play

Polish

Promote

Give it a try :)

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George Kao

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity" https://www.GeorgeKao.com