In order to take what you are practicing and apply it musically to the drumset, you have to develop facility, technique, and independence first. Then, you can transition to playing more freely—almost like a stream-of-consciousness, “beatnik” approach. You have to listen to yourself and plan ahead. You have to think musically—and in traditional ways—so you can compose on the spot.
I think about variation, orchestration, and dynamics.
When I play something, I like to repeat certain phrases to make them more weighty and impactful. Then, you can also hear a cycle, and that cycle becomes rhythmic and recognizable as an idea. It’s important to analyze what you’re doing, and putting yourself in the position of the listener is a good idea, because you want to draw people into what you’re doing.