A useful way of bridging the chasm between representation and abstraction is to use the art Universal "make the familiar strange". One of the best (and perhaps overused) example of this is Picasso's Bull Series (1946), and Lichtenstein's send-up done in 1973 (above). An example of the reverse of that process would be the borrowing of elements from science-fiction and letting them inspire the creative process. Either way, it makes the final product less strange and more familiar, and more interesting for generating new ideas, as it resolves misunderstandings of "strange". This has also been used in music since Varese (and perhaps much earlier), who introduced "strange" procedures with music composition.
"Making the familiar strange" will have its own variations in the future, as it is now an established Universal.
If you are not used to structured creativity, you can easily get lost in options, which can lead to a diminished of motivation. What you want to avoid as much as possible is getting lost in a thicket of technology. As much as it is a tool, don't get bogged down in it. Anything that has a hierarchical menu structure will have the capacity to stall your flow. Ideally you'll want to have the producer and engineer in the role of filter.
"Everything is infused with the consciousness in which you do it.", as has been said.
We always talk about "thought process" but within it is the "sight process" and "sound process" that follow the same laws of perception, such as the law of proximity or law of similarity.
My "sight process" can start with a camera, that functions as a recorder of ideas and lists of ideas. Digital photography and software like Lightroom, have made it easy to form these lists. The "thought process" comes later when sorting and categorizing them (law of similarity). The process naturally reveals itself in the process of grouping them with other similar photos, most often through a computer's directory structure of Folders and Files and with metadata, which can be lists.
Umberto Eco on List metaphors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxaSillA1uE
Who's/What's Doing What?
Photo-taking usually doesn't have a preceding sight process until there is a strong sense of "me". What the "I" (and "eye") sees is not what the "me" does in photography post-capture. The "I" is "I am taking a picture of that", the "me" is "that is "my" style, and something the "I" likes. Photo-sharing is essentially a list of "me's", as you are saying it's your style, like seeing a shirt and saying "that's me". When people like the photo they are saying either: "I like your style, or "I like that style" which is says "that's me", "I want to make/have that".
Creativity is like a variable weather system. There is "flow" but patterns can persist into a kind of doldrums. That's why I like to make my own slight perturbations or interruptions of the process, and sometimes decamp to another medium altogether.
There really is no flow when certain parts of a project are tedious and boring (like music mixing), but once something is resolved or completed, there is a kind of flow in retrospect, which is very useful for the sake of perseverance in one's craft.
For example, I hate tweaking individual tracks, but I like the effect it has on the song itself, and in the other songs in an album or playlist. Ultimately there's a flow in a larger system.
I love working in the digital realm, but computers can become too seductive, drawing everything into themselves, such that the spiritual aspects ("soul") can't escape their allure. (Computers can create fake Flow, masquerading as endless editing).
"Flow" is a term of art word that flows and ebbs based on the flows in your inner experience and what the mood is. When Flow is high, the ideas (seem) good, and you're on a High. When the ideas need shaping usually the Flow is low, but can give one the feeling that you always operate in flow in the end, you just don't see it as such in edit mode.
Very often your best ideas will happen within 15 minutes after you begin creative work. Luck comes early, or is always present; You just have to access that "wavelength", or get in the "red zone", like the Stoplight Loosejaw. Or as David Lynch says, "Catching the Big Fish", where "you've got to go deeper".
Creative blocks are typically the result of perfectionism and fear of making mistakes. Creative jams, or bottlenecks arise from being overwhelmed by possibilities. This is why imposing limitations and constraints is an effective strategy. If you make a mistake you can blame the limitations.
As an artificially-intelligent artist AI (if there were such a thing) evolved a way of working, it would probably develop a natural tendency to make things in series, or at least develop daily routines. The process of learning naturally involves routines, so it would be expected that the output would be somewhat routine. But since it is a machine, humans could control it in "random mode", and see if it could/would return to its routines, and if it learned anything useful in the random mode. (A "free will" test). Artists like to experiment (do "studies") to test how something might work as a matter of routine art-making, and some of that is ultimately usable. If art is a process, then machines can do that too, but they'd have to be programmed to switch back and forth between normal and random modes, or make that switching random as well. Then we humans ask, what's the point of all the programming for the purposes of stealing our creativity in the end results. Code is creative but it's creativity in the design of tools, not art, unless the tool becomes a Readymade.
To use language is to have the capability for music, although the converse is not necessarily true. But writing from both perspectives can result in something richer. If writing prose is being inside all the time, going outside to do something else enriches the inner experience. For many creative people, leaving the workspace and returning to it, somehow re-activates it. Incubation usually doesn't happen while working because you're concentrating on the work. But it can occur in different domains. This is why it's useful to do more than one thing: you can go outside and inside, which allows incubation on two levels. To use language is to have the capability for music, although the converse is not necessarily true. But writing from both perspectives can result in something richer. If writing prose is being inside all the time, going outside to do something else enriches the inner experience. For many creative people, leaving the workspace and returning to it, somehow re-activates it. Incubation usually doesn't happen while working because you're concentrating on the work. But it can occur in different domains. This is why it's useful to do more than one thing: you can go outside and inside, which allows incubation on two levels.
If there are creative people in your family, it is most likely that you have anchors in that period, e.g. an aunt born in 1920, with her creative peak in WWII will shape your creative operandi now. If you have a creative aunt born in 1960, you may be operating from an 1980s creative mindset. Anything beyond that sphere of influence is probably inert, but still accessible. You just have to have the curiosity to want to know more about it.
Proceeding directly from A-C (or any other distant point) makes B more interesting when you return to it. Sometimes non-linear methodologies can generate more novel outcomes than would proceeding linearly.