Episode 49. What I’ve Learned About Creative Process from a Year of Podcasting

Join me this week as I share the top two things I’ve learned about Creative Process + Creative Practice in the past year of podcasting.

In this episode, I share:

  • How to know when you’re actually ready to start a project idea
  • How I’ve developed a creative process that follows flow, intuition, curiosities, and what’s showing up in my life. 
  • How a *consistent* practice (I talk about my relationship with consistency) changed the way I relate to my creativity – I have so much more trust and belief in giving voice to the ideas that are coming to me
  • I also share my exact process for developing podcast episodes – from how I come up to ideas to the workflow I follow

Episode links:

  • Learn how to Map Your Intuition with a guided worksheet, located inside The Resource Library – learn more HERE
  • Want some support in getting quiet and tuning into what you’re thinking about, or what’s calling to you, today? Go to www.jenmoulton.com/newsletter and sign up to get my completely free Intuitive Creation Audio. You’ll receive my unique process to reliably tap in BEFORE you make any creative work so you can overcome procrastination, overwhelm, and where-do-i-start-itis.

If you enjoy listening, please subscribe, rate and review, and forward this episode to a friend who would benefit from it too.

Let’s become a generation of creative women who are examples for the people in our lives of what it looks like to prioritize our work (AND recognize our impact).

x, Jen

Full episode transcript below:

Welcome to today's episode, What I've Learned About Creative Process from a Year of Podcasting. 

I'm coming up on a year since I launched this podcast and I'm reflecting a lot on things that I just totally did not expect to get from podcasting. And now just podcasting, but for me, a consistent creative practice. 

Publishing every week, except for I think three weeks I've missed, in the past year has taught me a lot. I often say I'm not like a consistent creative output-er . I don't like that word, but. I like to listen to the flow and listen to what's calling to me. But I committed to doing this podcast. I should say, when I committed to doing this podcast last year, I committed to myself to doing 50 episodes. And today is episode 49. 

I'm going to keep going. But for me to commit to that, I really did not know how I was going to do it. I didn't know how I was going to show up week over week. I didn't know how I was going to create this body of work that I didn't have totally defined before I began. And I want to talk about the two things I really learned about that today, because I think for me, it's been very profound and I know that this is something that a lot of creative people struggle with. 

Consistency, or feeling consistent, showing up in publishing, even when you may not feel like it, trusting yourself to keep iterating and having ideas, trusting your voice. And following that, I'm beginning to talk about things that I don't think I totally planned on talking about when I first started a year ago. But I'm trusting that path for myself and these callings that I feel. 

So I'm going to share the two things that really stick out to me about consistently podcasting for a year, having a consistent creative process and practice. And my hope is that sharing these with you will make you do something that you're thinking about doing. Maybe you've been thinking about starting a creative project, whether it's a podcast or I don't know, vlogging or a daily practice, or a hundred day challenge or anything. My hope is that these two pieces of information I'm going to share with you will be like puzzle pieces that maybe you've been looking for information around and also give you the encouragement to commit and see what happens.

Because here's the thing I did commit to doing 50 episodes. But at any point I could have quit. Right? I could have decided I'm not doing this anymore. And especially if it felt like integrity to me to not do it anymore, I could have totally done that. So, I think we put a lot of weight in committing to things. But it's okay to commit to things and change your mind if you get more information and that's what feels right to you. 

So, I guess I'll leave that belief that I've developed over the past year, because a year ago when I committed to this, I don't think I would've said the same thing, but I have changed a lot of my views about consistent creative process and practice over the past year. And I'm so grateful for these two things that I've learned. I've learned, you know, more than two things, but the two I'm sharing with you today. 

So the first thing is that I didn't let myself start, I put quotes there, air quotes, until I had 50 podcast ideas. And what's really interesting to me is that I've probably recorded somewhere between eight and 10 of them over the past year. And they were more towards the beginning. 

I'm very glad that I had those ideas as backups, or like a reserve. But I see now that I didn't really fully trust myself to show up consistently, I put that in air quotes too, and that I didn't trust myself to have consistent ideas. I think my thought and my fear was like, what if I run out of ideas? What if I have like writer's block or podcasters block, whatever that would be called. What if I have terrible ideas and I don't have anything good that I want to share, like that's where this was coming from. 

And I do think it's a good idea to have in this case, a repository of ideas in other projects, there would be other examples of that. And I don't think that we should hold ourselves back from starting something when you have an idea that is speaking to you and that you feel some pressure or urgency or calling to share with the world. 

 I think there's a balance here. And I think that  part of this is knowing yourself. I am someone, it's so funny, I'm kind of like  I will take big risks, but I'm also a risk averse person. So I know myself well enough to know that I probably would have thrived if I had had 20 ideas  in a reserve, like a bank of ideas. I didn't need to wait until I had 50, like all 50 ideas mapped out because I haven't ended up using them. 

And part of that is I have let this body of work. Form kind of organically. I do it week by week now as I am living, and moving through the world, and thinking, and taking a new information and learning. I get more ideas that I want to share. And I'm, I feel like I'm refining my point of view. 

And so it's kind of a gas break situation. I think, where you need to know yourself well enough to know how much support, maybe foundation, safety and security, do you need? And also trusting yourself, and letting yourself stretch, and knowing that even when it's hard you will show up and figure out something and it might be even better than if you had pre-planned it all.

That's one of the biggest things I've learned.  If I had set out,  in this project and I picked my 50 topics last year, and then week by week, I just recorded them. And I just like spoke to what I had chosen. I would be so bored. I'm guessing that you would probably be bored, if you're listening to this. 

Because it's not dynamic, right?  If I were doing that, I wouldn't be taking in information, and paying attention in my life, and learning, and letting myself change, and constantly exploring my own growth edges, and the edges of my awareness of what is interesting to me.  That is what has made this project compelling and interesting to me, and has helped me continue to show up with the same dedication that I started with in the beginning. 

 And that just feels like a very important, fine point for me to have learned- this idea of how do I support myself, and give myself the safety and security that I might want when I'm trying something new for the first time, when I'm learning a new medium, I had not done audio before, and that was very different for me to learn.  

And also, how can I trust myself that I will continue to develop and grow, and find things interesting, and expanding my perspective, and that that will, and I hope it does inform what I want to share in my messaging. 

So, if you are again, thinking about a project for yourself, or maybe you've had something on your mind to do, I would say to know yourself and know how to meet your safety and security needs, but also trust yourself to stretch and grow and incorporate what you're learning along the way, as you pursue your project because  that is what will make your project even more dynamic, and more compelling to you. And something that is a living, breathing body of work,  not something that you are just kind of executing an idea from a year ago. 

 Okay. So that was takeaway number one. 

 Takeaway number two is what I have learned about my literal creative process. And when I say literal, I mean like literally my creative process- how I show up for my creativity. I am not an everyday person. I'm very much a proponent of daily- ish, which means doing things consistently but not every day. 

 I'm just not a fan of doing something out of compulsion, or forcing yourself, or when you really don't want to do something. I would much rather, and this is what I do, I wake up and what do I need today? What do I want today? Do I want to go for a walk? Do I want to write? Do I want to read? Do I want to meditate? Do I want to walk on a treadmill? Do I want to go sit in a coffee shop and people watch?  All of these things I check in and see what I really am wanting and needing, rather than I just do the same thing every single day. And I know that serves some people, I'm not knocking it, but it doesn't serve me. It's not how my brain works. And so I've stopped forcing myself to try to do things that way. 

  So in that I feel like I'm not a, I guess my stories about myself or my beliefs, is that I'm not a super consistent person, or I struggle with consistency because I am not doing the same thing every single day.  And so then when I looked at doing something every single week, I had some anxiety about that. 

Like, am I going to be able to show up and fulfill my commitment to do this for 50 episodes, and do it from a place of care, and sharing, and interest and exploration, not just because I said I was going to do this thing and that's why I keep showing up. That's not the energy that I want to create from, and it's not the energy I want to share from. 

So I was nervous about committing to a year long project, because I knew I wouldn't significantly shift the focus of this podcast. I wouldn't rebrand it. I wasn't gonna get 10 episodes in and then change the ethos of it completely. It's something that I, I wanted to challenge myself to create this consistent, that's funny that I picked that word, consistent body of work. Consistent as in weekly, and see what it became. 

 I chose a topic and a title that I felt was specific, and something that I'm passionate about- momentum in your creative practice.  But also broad enough that I could explore, and allow it to shift, and build, and become what it has become. 

 But I struggled in the beginning with worrying, would I get bored?  Would I want to quit.  The answers to those are yes and yes.  

But that is mostly due to the way that I approached it in the beginning.  Like I said a few minutes ago, I wanted to work ahead, I had these 50 ideas.  I wanted to have podcasts loaded like a month in advance because I thought that that was the most professional way to do it.  

And I had that list of 50 ideas that I could have just recorded and executed, and that made me feel safe enough to move forward into the uncertainty and unknown of creating a podcast that I really didn't know where it was going to take me, or what it was going to become. 

But what I learned about myself, and MY unique creative practice and process, is this: I like to open myself up and see what is interesting to me right now, what is at the edges of my awareness, what is gently pulling at me. 

Hearing the answers to these questions has required me to build way, way, way, way more space into my schedule than I ever have. And I'm going to share some specifics here because  I think it's very informative. So this is the way I've begun to approach podcasts episodes, and what I'm going to share and talk about. 

 But I hope that you'll be able to hear how different and how much growth is in this process rather, or versus, when I was starting out and I had my 50 ideas and I thought I was just going to execute them and like, bam, bam, bam. 

 Here is what my practice and my process looks like right now.  I'm having space in my schedule, so I'm not constantly busy and learning and taking a new information and talking and engaging. I need space now to think, and to explore. And usually I'm doing something unrelated to work or the podcast. Like walking, driving, cooking, something that I'm engaged in, but my mind is also working on other things in the background. And I like to think that I'm just open and paying attention. 

 And I get these whispers of an idea. And I know something is there when I feel some excitement and a desire to know more. So, what I start doing is jotting down what is top of mind for me. What do I know right now? What is swirling around in my head right now? And then often more keeps coming as I start, I usually type it out on my phone into a note. And I've written whole podcast episodes like this and like five or 10 minutes.  Where the information just feels like it's just like, downloading so fast. Like I can't get it out fast enough.  Then I usually let it sit for a day or two and see if anything else is germinating, or if my mind creates any other connections.  

I always tell people that I work with, like, let's plant the seed, and then go do something else and your mind will continue to work on something and problem solve and start spitting out ideas for you. So  that's this practice like implemented. 

So I let my mind to do its thing. See if there's any more connections,  anything germinating.  And then I will sit down and record. And I do write an outline of sorts, usually. But I rarely write a full script anymore. I definitely did in the beginning. And when I'm speaking to the outline, I usually gain more connections as I'm talking and processing out loud, and it has been absolutely fascinating to learn this about myself and my creative process. 

And I feel so much more trust than I did before.  In myself, in the creative forces that we are all tapped into, in there being some reason that I am meant to give voice and language to the idea that is hovering around me. That's kind of what it feels like to me. 

 I used to spend so much time, I cannot even tell you how much time doubting. I would question, is this worthy? Will this make a difference in the world? Who cares? Is a self-absorbed? That was a huge one for me. And let me tell you, recording a podcast every week and just like talking into a microphone, and then putting it on a public forum feels very self-absorbed for someone that is like hyper concerned about that.  

But now I know, and I do think that this weekly publishing schedule has helped me find this, it doesn't have to be Nobel prize worthy for me to share it. 

I think this to myself all the time, who knows what me giving voice to this idea, often it's something that I am still coming to fully understand myself, but who knows what me giving voice to this will create. Will it give someone else a puzzle piece of information that they are seeking? Or have been seeking? Will it continue to build in my mind into something else or branch off? 

I have so much more trust in the practice and the process than ever before. Feeling nudged to share something is now a quote, good enough, and actually in my opinion, the best reason to share.  I did not have this intact before starting this podcast.  And it feels like the biggest gift to have figured this out for myself and to really fully believe it. 

 Who knows what I will go on to share when I have this level of trust and curiosity and openness as my foundation. I cannot wait to find out. 

Okay, that is what I have for you today. I hope that these two takeaways, that I have learned from committing to maybe my longest creative practice, like consistently,  helps you feel inspired or gives you the confidence to commit to something that you've been thinking about, or maybe to trust an idea that feels like it's been tugging at you that  maybe you haven't felt totally prepared to commit to yet. 

Remember, you can commit right now with the best information that you have, and you can totally change your mind too. That is valid. I think, you would agree with me that let's just maybe get a little morbid right here, but if you got to the end of your life, and you were going through an accounting of all of the things that you've done, that you would feel so much gratitude to yourself for the things that you pursued, and then allowed to change course. Rather than you didn't let yourself try something because you weren't sure how it was going to work out, you've weren't sure if you would be able to do it, you weren't sure what it would become for you. 

That is something that I have come to firmly believe- I would so much rather try, and start, and allow something to lead me, and change course, then to not let myself start because I'm not sure where it's going to go, or I'm not sure how it's going to work out. 

I am so glad that you were here and then we get to walk our paths together. See you next time. Same time, same place. Bye for now. 

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