Create out loud

with Jennifer Louden

20 | Jen’s Biggest “A-Ha” Creativity Breakthroughs From Season 1

Show Notes

In this episode:

  • A candid conversation between Jen and her podcast producer, Jeff Graham about the biggest lessons learned in her first podcast season.
  • Powerful insights pulled from this season’s guests.
  • A gift for you!


As much as YOU feel like you’ve learned a lot from Season 1 of Create Out Loud, I might have learned more.

I want to give you a present to thank you for listening and for sharing Create Out Loud with your friends. Go here to download an audio experience, set of suggestions, and ideas about what to do when you’re having a vulnerability hangover. I’ve also got some questions for you there (totally optional) because I’d love to have your feedback and ideas for guests for season two.

In this very special bonus episode, I sit down with my producer Jeff Graham as he turns the tables and asks me some of his burning questions about the biggest creative breakthroughs of the season. We threw it back to some amazing moments with Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Rissi Palmer, and Angeline Boulley.

It’s been a profound experience for me, as a creator, as a mentor, and teacher. I feel like I’ve learned so much about intention and play and keeping it weird. I’ve been able to be in the hearts and minds of truly amazing people and different kinds of approaches to the creative life.

As the season went on, I deepened into my self-compassion and practiced working with my learning differences and trusting myself more.

My guests helped me to see that creativity is a collaborative process — something I think we all know, even though I sure tend to forget it!

Collaborating with Jeff on this podcast has been a joyful experience. In our chat, you’ll hear how that went and what we both gained from it.

As Jeff discussed, so much of finding our creativity occurs in concert with one another.

Most of what is perceived as original is a combination of ideas from people who came before you. One of the best ways to bring value is to share your own different tweak or angle on an idea. Add a little something, improve on stuff that you’ve seen done before, and that’s an amazing contribution to make.

All too often, people don’t even get started with creating because they think they don’t have any original ideas. We talk about how this “toxic originality” holds creatives back and what they can do to move forward.

Give yourself permission to recognize your taste is important — the art that you already love has curated your own originality and that’s an important part of creation. The things you love have created taste, which you can use to curate what you’re making.

Jeff had some interesting insights to share here.

Ira Glass talks about this. He says the reason so many creatives quit is because they have really, really good taste. It’s this idea that we love these huge benchmarks of amazing art. And we want to have that same voice. But when we get to the page, we don’t have the experience or the craft skills yet to achieve that level. So the gap between our ability of craft and our taste is so wide. So we just need to keep writing and pushing through it so that eventually our abilities match our taste.

We have to learn to live in that gap because that gap is always there.

As this season’s guests illustrated, you can’t always guard against the things that could derail you from your creative process, because distractions and hindrances are everywhere.

Next, Jeff asked me what I’ve learned about myself this season. Most importantly, I learned about being welcoming to myself, when I’m in conversation.

If I’m straining to make something happen, keep my shit together, or appear like I’m something special, or anything like that — I don’t know if it ruins the interview, but it definitely means I’m exhausted. And if I’m really present with the person and curious and listening closely, then it’s flow. You know, it’s that wonderful creative flow. And I end on a high note. I think that’s been a lesson for me over and over again, in life.

Something else I came to know even more deeply this season is that creative caves are bad news. For any length of time, being on our own, being alone, not being in conversation with other people, other creators, or your community — it works against you.

We also talked about how hard it can be to be a creative, how much easier it might be to be called to do something that allows you to clock in and out. But as Jeff said, “the truth is, if you’ve been called by the creative gods to create, that’s not who you are. And that’s not what that is. Learn to enjoy the ride.”

If you deny your creative calling, it makes you sick. I don’t mean necessarily physically sick, but soul sick, resentful, and crabby. Repression is one of the most dangerous things we can do to ourselves.

Finally, the single biggest takeaway that I hope listeners gained from this first season is this:

There’s a determination that all of our guests have shown — a determination that burns deep inside of them. There’s something that motivates them to create, and there’s an essence to it, and everybody’s essence is a little different. But it’s there, and it’s real, and it’s worth it. And you are in that company.

You are no different from this season’s guests. You deserve to create out loud too.

Feel that burning, tend to it, take its ticket seriously. But hold it lightly.

Visit to get instant access to a collection of audios that will

  • help you with some of the most common struggles we creatives have to manage including fear of choosing,
  • falling into compare and despair, managing the inner critic (s),
  • and feeling too exposed and vulnerable when you put yourself or your work into the world.

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