Ryan Leacock started the Creative People Podcast to inspire others to embrace their creativity. DAVID PIKE PHOTO

The Side Hustle: Creative People Podcast

This January, KW’s own Ryan Leacock celebrated one whole (rather eventful) year of self-producing the Creative People Podcast. In his weekly episodes, Leacock picks the brains of a wide range of artists, from writers to musicians, bakers, designers and more – many of whom are local to Waterloo Region. 

Ultimately, his goal is to bring creative people together in a way that inspires others to embrace their creativity as well. 

“I felt like I spent a lot of my life feeling isolated, and in listening to other podcasts and hearing other people’s creative journeys, I realized ‘oh, I’m not the only one who feels like that.’ I wanted to build a podcast that was centred around that feeling,” Leacock said.

Fascinated by the exponentially different versions that creativity can take for different individuals, Leacock’s content illustrates that it’s one of those great intangibles you just can’t catch – every time you think you’ve figured it out, it turns left.

“…Each [guest] has their own unique version of creativity that often could not be more different than mine, but really, we’re still talking about the same thing,” Leacock said. 

“I think that’s what brings creative people together and hopefully, makes them feel less alone in it.”

With his knack for drawing out the nuances and idiosyncrasies of diversely inventive minds, Leacock exposes the innate origins of creativity that each of us has the capacity to tap into.

“We’re all capable of being creative … I think what sets [creative people] apart is a decision to commit to living a life that embraces and expresses your creativity on a regular basis,” he said.

For Leacock, that decision involved launching this podcast on the side of his full-time career in production design. He was looking for something to put his creative energy into that he could consistently work on and get better at over time.

“The more comfortable you get with your own creative outlet – your unique creative spark and the way you interact with it – the better your work is going to get, and the more consistent it will be.”

That perspective carried Leacock through learning the ins and outs of producing his very first podcast. Like many, he faced a lay-off when the pandemic hit, which he made the best of by diving deeper into his newfound project. For several months after that, he produced not one but two episodes a week.

“I really pushed hard in the beginning and now that I know some stuff, I’m slowing down and being more strategic in my approach,” Leacock said.

Despite the abundance of creativity Leacock harnessed during that first wave, he shared that there were two different types of creative journeys that stood out to him in 2020, and he empathizes with them both.

“Some people have taken big swings [throughout the pandemic] and others kind of closed off for a while. They’re both valid responses …

We’re all facing a new reality and going through a major shift. If you’re not blooming right now, you shouldn’t feel bad about that,” Leacock said.

He also shared some valuable thoughts around how to nurture one’s creativity in these times of lasting crisis, when it can be hard to get excited about things or take on a big project.

“Follow your small curiosities … explore them with low stakes and just allow them to lead you wherever they’re going to lead you.”

Moreover, Leacock reminds us that at times, creativity can feel like a demon on your shoulder. If there is something inside you that you’re not expressing, it can nag at you and increase your anxiety. That was another one of his motivations for starting the podcast. 

He hopes that through facilitating these in-depth conversations about creativity, he might help people to find relief from that feeling as they see themselves reflected in other artists who have faced similar challenges and still accomplished their goals.

“Your creativity is going to take shape and evolve over time. Just let it happen … that’s something I wish I had been told when I was younger,” Leacock said.

“Focus on what’s in front of you right now and don’t hold back from calling yourself a creative person.”