Welcome to episode #2: So why not… be a little more creative?
Today we’re talking all about one of my true passions in life: CREATIVITY.
I’ve always considered myself a creative person, but my definition has changed over the years.
After several years in my pharmacy career, I had a small identity crisis. Pharmacy can be a regimented, methodical, less creative field. We focus on evidence, guidelines, policies, and procedures. There is some variability, definitely something unexpected happens every day, but I wouldn’t say that pharmacy, or maybe healthcare in general, is a creative field.
I touched on creativity some in the intro episode but I’ve had many creative ventures over the years.
I’ve always enjoyed painting and drawing. In elementary school, probably around 4th or 5th grade, I became interested in hand-lettering (or what we now know it as) and calligraphy. I had several lettering books I would copy and be inspired by as I developed my own style. My classmates would pay me a quarter (I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, too!) to write or draw on their hands with gel pens or draw on their notebooks or make them some kind of paper sign. As I kept practicing over the years, I got to use my calligraphy skills outside of the schoolyard. I helped address wedding invitations and offered calligraphy services on eBay (kind of like today’s Fiverr).
Also as a teenager, I designed a couple of t-shirts for my church youth groups. I loved seeing an idea come to life from scratch… and then seeing it on a few hundred people. A few years ago, I started an online t-shirt company. It definitely didn’t turn into a full-fledged career, but it was amazing to see something that I designed on some of my very supportive friends and family (thank you very much!). We also partnered with a few influencers and got a taste for collaborations on social media. That later spurred us into content creation of our own for other companies. The list goes on and on but to sum it up, the whole process from starting with nothing to the finished product, creativity is something I find so fulfilling.
It has taken on new meaning to me as of late. Within just the last year or so, I’ve reframed my definition of creativity.Until recently, I’ve considered creativity to involve something tangible, to make an object or repurpose something. My definition of creativity is utilizing available resources to produce something new or improve upon an existing process.Maybe it’s just the stage of life I’m in, but I finally had the realization that creativity applies to so much more than something tangible.
To explain this more in depth, I have an acronym for CREATE;
It stands for:
I’ll explain what each of these mean and some examples, then we’ll get into some specific ways to use this acronym in planning out creative projects.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Choose. This is limitless. (a problem to solve, something you’ve procrastinated, something that you want to learn, something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, a habit, better systems, routines, intention, a memory—like travel, community—book club or cooking club)
Resources (do you need supplies, internet search [you can find soooo much on the internet. You can find a video for EVERYTHING on Youtube. You can teach yourself just about anything online. Sometimes, though, you get what you pay for], on that note— do you need classes?, even before the pandemic, online classes were becoming more common but now they’re everywhere!; people [helping hands, someone to bounce ideas off of], books, money, prioritizing your schedule, childcare, a professional or an expert)
envision (planning out in detail, researching, estimating costs—specific steps to take)
act (get to work, get started)
time (projected timeline, when will you start?; don’t expect perfection on the first try, give yourself time)
-there is a season for everything. I’ve had so many times in my life that I had to prioritize other things over my own creativity. If you’re in school or have a demanding job or have little babies or you’re just going through a rough time and can’t do one more thing… it won’t last forever. There is a time and season for everything and you’ll find a way to reprioritize creativity again one day.
enjoy (celebrate successes, notice when you make progress, look back with pride not embarrassment, share with others)
I don’t think that this creative process is necessarily linear. You don’t have to start at the beginning. For instance, you could start with a resource. Say you were gifted an e-course. You could then backtrack to choose to attempt to improve or master the associated skill. Or maybe you get into taking action and realize that you need additional resources or need to go back to the drawing board and focus more on envisioning and planning.
Writing it down really helps me plan it all out when I’m working on creative projects. I have a free PDF on my website you can check out on the post for this episode. It goes through each component to help you see the big picture and plan out what you want to create. I’d love to know your thoughts and if you find it helpful. I know that society is trending toward technology and going digital but there is something magic about writing it down. It can get you more connected to what you’ve chosen to create and it is so satisfying to check things off the list. I do use my notes app quite a bit on my phone when I’m on the go and want to make a note of something before I forget. I still organize my plans in this same method using the CREATE acronym. So that’s an idea for you.
Specific example #1
One of the hottest things to bake during 2020. I had to get in on the trend. It’s hard to beat fresh baked bread at home.
-knowledge: I researched a few blogs and recipe sites online
-supplies: flour (not necessarily easy to find during some early parts of the pandemic), glass jar, kitchen scale, Dutch oven when it came time for baking
-After researching, I decided to use a method and recipe from King Arthur flour
-Each day, I would feed and discard the starter and let it grow and develop on the counter for the first week
After I researched and planned, I got started
the sourdough starter itself took at least a week of feeding in the beginning before I could use it to bake, and time each day to feed and discard, so I picked a week when I knew we’d be at home (Ha! That was easy during lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic)
-um…hot bread. That was easy to enjoy!
-but when it came time to actually use the sourdough starter to bake bread, it was trial and error with a few recipes to actually get to the point of delicious sourdough bread. There were definitely quite a few flops until I found the right recipe and practiced the baking techniques more and more. I wasn’t discouraged and knew that it would take time.
-I found other recipes along the way: sourdough focaccia. Thick, chewy bread with olive oil and flaky salt. That was delicious! The best thing that we routinely still make every couple of weeks is sourdough pizza. We’ve made it for my parents when they came to visit so we were able to share it with others.
Another example of how this creative process isn’t always linear: in regards to different supplies or equipment: I started out just using a kitchen knife to slash the top of loaves but now I use a lame—a specific blade for making slits in loaves (so that’s one example of jumping back to resources as on ongoing creative process)
Specific example #2
-creating a more peaceful home
Our word for our family in 2021 is “peace”
Maybe this was spurred by so much togetherness throughout 2020, something that we are grateful for but naturally can cause us to lose our patience with each other from time to time.
I find myself screaming over the screaming sometimes. It can be exhausting.
-Patience: taking a conscious effort to be more patient, realizing the circumstances and how to mitigate them.
-Presence: for me especially, I struggle with anxiety. I have trouble staying present and not worrying about things I have no control over or living in the future and being overwhelmed with all of it. Being present and in the moment can help me focus on our goal of creating a more peaceful home
-book: Child Whisperer (Carol Tuttle–Dear Jenna Podcast)
-creating peace in our home takes all of us making an effort
-We envision strengthening our relationships
-As parents, we focus on having more patience to communicate as we discipline our kids
-As a couple, we are focusing on communicating better
Act: got started immediately when we decided to prioritize it
Time: The timeline for this is… forever!
This one’s not finished and it never will be. This one’s a forever work in progress. We do and will enjoy a more peaceful home by making the effort.
These are just two specific examples in depth but I really think this creative process can apply to just about any type of project or self-development or relationship or habit you want to work on. I always like to have creative projects I’m working on outside of work but as for my career… even though I wouldn’t consider pharmacy a creative field, I had a mindset shift within the last year or so that I can bring creativity into just about all aspects of my life. I can prioritize creating a safe environment at work by being present and focusing on the task at hand and attempting to decrease inefficiencies and unnecessary distractions. I can do my best to create a positive experience for everyone involved—especially the patient and their family members but also other members of the healthcare team by trying to have a good attitude even when it’s the middle of the night and I’m under stress and other people may be impatient and snappy and to remember that it’s all about the patient’s needs. I can create better relationships with my coworkers to have a better experience at work overall.
So what do you think? Is this helpful for you? Have you had a mindset shift like this already? It’s still such a strange time. You may feel like it’s more difficult to be creative in your current circumstances. Just know that you can be. It doesn’t have to be now. You can plan ahead and dream of times in the future. I’ve heard so many people throughout the years say they “don’t have a creative bone in their body” or something to that effect. Yeah you do! I’m here to remind you that everyone is creative. It may be unique to your own circumstances and skill set but there are always new skills we can learn or improve upon. Make sure to check out the CREATE PDF that you can download for free on my website. You can find it on sowhynot.me and find the post for episode 2. I’ll make sure to link it in the show notes as well. I’d love to know your thoughts and if it was helpful for you. Please please tag me on instagram @sowhynot.podcast and see how it’s working for your creative process.
As always, I hope you can use these ideas as tipping off points to channel the ambition, curiosity, and desire to create the life you want to live. Thanks so much for listening. Our time is so important and I am so appreciative that you spent some of it with me.
So that’s it for today’s episode. I really would love to know your thoughts on this mindset for bringing creativity into your life and planning it all out. Please feel free to comment on instagram or send me a DM. You can share this episode with others if it resonates with you. You can share it directly through the app or take a screenshot and post it in your stories. Make sure to tag me so I can see it! I’d love for you to leave a written review through Apple Podcasts. It is so helpful for letting others know about the show. I will be having a fun giveaway in the coming weeks for those who leave reviews and will be selecting some to send some of my favorite goodies to. I really think that the CREATE PDF will be helpful in planning out your next creative endeavors so make sure to download it so you can print it out at home. I hope that this idea can help give you that creative energy that you may feel you have been lacking or give you a boost to start something new. Thank you again for listening!