Episode 18: Jenn Uren on Being a CreativeJun 01, 2021
Jenn Uren, shares how she discovered how (not if) she was creative as well as the 5 things that all creatives do.
Here's the book that influenced her: A Million Little Ways
This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 18
Do you consider yourself to be creative? Well, over the years I've been asked this question, and my answer was usually, "No, unfortunately, I am not creative. I wish it were, but I'm not."
I appreciate it. And I even envied people who were creative, like interior designers, authors, painters, photographers, seamstresses. There were so many skills and talents that I wished I had, but they just were not how I was designed. So I plodded along doing the thing that I do, which was just being a mom and running our home. And while I did my normal, non creative stuff, I watched so many other people turn their creativity into something tangible, and even something profitable. And I really hated being what I felt like was a benchwarmer, just someone on the sidelines watching. But I knew I just didn't possess the creativity that I saw in others. I could consume, but I couldn't create.
Until one day, I was asked that question just a little bit differently. I was asked, "How were you creative?" Hmm. That seemed like a strange question, because it assumed that I was creative. And I had long ago settled in my mind that I wasn't creative. So being asked how I was creative was uncomfortable. It made me stare into the mirror, and I had to look for and try to find something that I didn't actually believe existed.
Then I started listening to Emily P Freeman's book "A Million Little Ways." And the purpose of this book is really, to help someone like me see that God designed every single one of us to be creative. We are creative. Not if we are creative, but how we are creative. And the more I listened, the more my eyes were opened to finding the creativity that was already part of who I am.
As I began to explore this, I began to recognize that the same God who created the order and intricacy of math, which makes a lot of sense, to me, created the beauty of color, and art, and all the things that I find a little harder to do. Creating a menu, creating a lesson plan, or creating a mural on the wall, they all have a lot of things in common.
So I thought today, we would explore that a little bit more. And we would look at how there are just some common traits found in being creative, no matter what that creativity is, whether it's art, whether it is cooking, or whether it is painting.
So the first thing that every creative does is they start at the beginning. Often it's a blank something, a blank page, or a blank canvas. But sometimes they're solving a problem. Either way, they either start from, or they work their way back to the beginning. The beginning is where it starts. It has a starting point, it doesn't just happen.
So let's use a couple of examples. When you sit down at the table, you are seeing the end result of a chef's hard work. When you walk into a room and you see a mural on a wall, you are enjoying a completed work immediately. I believe that this is where the magic of creating happens. It's when we see the end, but skip over the beginning. It gives us this illusion that it was effortless because we don't see how it happens.
The second thing that every creative does, they understand the purpose. So if they're planning a menu, knowing the difference between planning family dinners and planning a wedding banquet will impact how you proceed. It's going to impact the caliber of the dish, how you present it how much effort it's going to require to prepare. If you're planning a mural for a wall, knowing if it's for a board room, a family room or child's bedroom is going to significantly influence what that mural is going to end up looking like. Can you imagine a pink princess mural on a corporate boardroom wall? I suppose it depends on the company, but in general, we would we wouldn't expect to see that.
The third thing that every creative does, they recognize the parameters. So this is where they understand what their constraints are. The chef will ask questions like: How much time do I have? Until this needs to be delivered? How much money do I have in the budget to work with? Are there any food allergies to work around? How many people will I be feeding? The artist is going to wonder: How big is the wall? What color, what's the color scheme everywhere else? What's the subject? Is it a standalone image or is it part of a bigger theme? So there are there are constraints and parameters that have to be understood.
The fourth thing that every creative does, they plan for the outcome. Whether it's a formally drafted and written down plan, or it simply forms in one's mind, the outcome is envisioned and a plan is created. The artist knows what order to add colors to the wall or to the canvas. They know what brushes to use. The chef knows when to purchase the ingredients, when to prep certain foods, and how to time the serving of everything.
And the fifth thing that every creative does is they practice. It is rare to find a muralist who has never painted before, or a chef who is stepping foot into the kitchen for the very first time. That's kind of crazy, actually. No, these are people who have engaged with their skill often. And sometimes it's for pleasure and sometimes they're paid to do it. They, "perform an activity or exercise a skill repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain proficiency." That is Google's definition of practice. It's not something that we do only on the sidelines. Practicing what we do every day, no matter who benefits from it, is practice. Practice is about consistency, not about whether you're paid to do it or not.
So you want to hear something crazy. So one of the things that I am pretty good at is organization. And people would say to me all the time, "Oh, I wish I were organized." But this is the crazy part. My answer, "I would say to them, everyone is organized. Some people are good at organizing spaces and things. Others are good at organizing people in events, and others are great at organizing ideas. You just have to figure out how you are organized." Isn't that kind of crazy how that sounds so similar to "I wish I was creative" vs. "how am I creative"? I could see this in other people far more easily than I could see it in myself.
So how am I creative? Well, thanks for asking. I am great at creating systems and processes that combined simple routines with effective tools. I am good at rhythms and routines. And if you're not sure what rhythms and routines are, I encourage you to check out Episode 15, where I talk about those in a lot greater detail. But when it comes to making life easier, I'm your gal.
So I joke that it's because I'm lazy. But really, it's because it's all about working smarter. Why should I take an hour to do something that the right tool or process will let me accomplish in 15 minutes? That's 45 minutes that you free up to - and this is where you get to fill in the blank. What would you do with those 45 minutes? Read a book, exercise, play a game with your kids, schedule your social media?
The thing is, people are often asking me how I do what I do. They see the magic of that end result. And they wish that they could have that too. But they don't see all the steps that I go through to get to the end result of what I'm doing. That's the great thing about moms. And that's kind of really the heart behind This Mom Knows. Because you know things I don't know about and I know things you don't know about. Together, we have got it covered. I love learning from other moms just as much as I enjoy sharing with them what I know. So I look forward to helping you use your time more effectively.
So let me end with these two questions. The first is, if you could free up 45 minutes in your day, what would you do with it? And the second is, how are you creative? What is it that you know about? So head on over to this mom knows that comm where you can find all the ways to connect with me and then shoot me an email or send me a DM and let me know your answers. I look forward to learning more about the things that you know and sharing with you the things that I know