Sunday, June 18, 2017

Three Steps to Unleash a Creative Mind-by Heidi McLaughlin

“I’m going to build a raft, and then I can float it across the lake.”  My ten-year-old grandson Austin’s face brimmed with excitement as he envisioned the possibility of this grand adventure.  He could hardly finish his sentences as he sputtered: “And then I’m going to…and then…and then.” His joy was contagious.

The rest of the family got back on their bikes to return home, and Austin led the pack, eager to begin his new project.  There is a little forest in the back of my daughter’s house and sure enough Austin dragged out 3 small logs, just the right size for a raft.  Add some rope, a stick and a garbage bag for a sail, and his dream became a reality.  Only one hitch. How do we get it to the lake and make it float?

Austin was determined to find a way to float on his beautiful creation, and my heart sank as I watched his carefully executed plan fall apart.

His enthusiasm for this project was vibrant and I envied the energy and untapped creativity in this young lad.  Oh I needed some of that enthusiasm and focus.  So how can we unleash that zeal in our lives when at times the creative well runs dry?

Here are my 3 thoughts:

1.         Get a different perspective.  Hike, bike, drive or fly to an area you’ve never visited before.  An unfamiliar creation will inspire new creativity.   A fresh landscape, new art, varied music, food or culture is sure to inspire new thoughts and get your heart pumping for diverse ideas.
2.         Remove distractions. Once Austin had his idea, he was laser beam focused to build the raft and nothing could sway his plan. As adults we are bombarded with too many demands and noise.  Yet when our souls and mind are at rest, we can hear the sounds in our head that want to tell us a new story. 
3.         Be fearless. Austin’s plan bombed.  We couldn’t get the raft to the lake never mind making it float. Yes, he was disappointed, (I was more disappointed than he was) but he didn’t say: “I put all this energy into this raft and it doesn’t work.  I’m never building anything again.” No, he shook it off and was eager and ready for his next adventure.

Perhaps we’ve had too many disappointments, been rejected for our ideas or we’re simply too tired.  God, who is the ultimate creator of the universe and mankind, has made us in His image.  Because of that mysterious and miraculous master plan, on this side of heaven our creativity will never run out.  You never know, maybe like Tom Sawyer, your raft will float.

(That's Austin with his head in the well)
Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. Heidi has been widowed twice. She is a mom and step mom of a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her family and special friends.
Her latest book RESTLESS FOR MORE: Fulfillment in Unexpected 
Places (Including a FREE downloadable Study Guide) is now available at;, or her website:


Peter Black said...

Heidi, I love this 'Austin' story; it plucks at pleasant chords of memory. When my grandson Austin was ten he and I worked on some creations together, but now as a 6'2"-and-still-growing 15 year-old he has other interests and pursuits. That said, the "I can do it" creative enthusiasm of a youngster is a wonderful and precious thing to be nurtured. Thank you for your practical and spiritual application. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

How neat. I, too, like Peter and you, Heidi, have a grandson named Austin. My Austin is only four though, although he seems to be one of those 'focused kids' too. His Dad was like that and like your Austin, often came up with brilliant inventions and often had his head 'in the well, too'.

I loved you application to Austin's tenacity and how we can do this in our own writing lives.
Your suggestions for unleashing the zeal and creativity are great suggestions. Thanks, Heidi. loved your post.

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