Harnessing Creativity


Each and every person in past, present, and future lifetimes has creativity in them. We all have the power to paint, draw, sculpt, write, cook, or practice any other creative endeavor, and we all have the power to do it in our own way. More importantly, we all have the power to practice these arts from our mind’s eye, rather than creating a copy of a copy of something we’re physically looking at. Copying something is not the same as creating something from your mind’s eye, and creating a copy is not a creative endeavor. It takes technique, but technique is not the same as skill. 

The same goes for cooking something from the heart, and creating something from a recipe. When you invent your own meal, completely out of your head, it’s coming from your heart. You’re performing an act of creation because you love to do it. Besides, if you change at least three ingredients in any recipe, you have a brand new meal. Both of these are much different than taking a box of dried pasta, a jar of sauce, and calling that ‘cooking’.

For many of us, not being ‘good enough’, and not being ‘talented’ at what we want to do is greater than our longing to practice an art. But, we can’t allow fear to get in the way. Most of us, when we first begin what we long to master, are terrible at that medium, and that’s okay. That’s normal, as is being disgusted by our own mistakes and afraid of our failures.

But, if all of us allowed our fears of making mistakes to get in the way of our successes, we would not have the artists we have today. Allow yourself to have a ‘good accident’, and learn from it… or, when there is an accident, turn it into an act of beauty.

An example of this would be when I made fudge a week and a half ago. It was meant to be hot chocolate, but when I’d screwed the top off of the milk and performed the ‘sniffing test’, I'd found it spoiled. My noise recoiled and that bottle of brand new milk went down the sink. The hardest part of this good accident? The chocolate I was using was already in mid-melt, sitting in a pot over a bowl of hot water. After adding some other ingredients, then plopping each ingredient in a lump on a cookie sheet, I’d set it to chill… and came back to find fudge. 

This could have gone a million different ways. I could have dumped the chocolate out and given up before inventing this recipe, or it could have ended badly a million different ways. Instead, I took what I knew about baking and created ‘accidental fudge’.

You shouldn’t allow your fears to get in thew ay of your dreams, either. Everyone has to start somewhere. Starting somewhere, no matter your own skill level, is the most humane thing you can do for yourself.

Allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from them is the hardest part, but it’s one that must be accepted in order for you to practice any medium. There may be no glass ceiling on talent, but that’s where growth comes in. Once you accept, no matter your skill level, that there’s no such thing as ‘the best’ or ‘the worst’, the less fear you will have pulling you away from what you long to learn.


Once you accept this, you will only have growth.


You will only have evolution.


This is one of those places where creativity comes in. There are many ideas that are difficult to execute, but that does not mean you should shy away from them. In fact, that means you should dive into the project, pound it out, and finish it. Anything difficult is worth doing. That’s how we have growth in the arts rather than devolution.


“8x10,” which can be found here, was written from the mother’s point of view. It could have been written through her son’s eyes, who would have told it through the lens of being betrayed by his mother. I'll end this here, just in case those reading this want to read that tale.


Or, it could’ve been written through third person, which would have given us more of the voice of the mother, the son, or the future wife, but it would have removed much of the closeness and much of the ‘attitude’ that it was written with.


Both of these would have removed the personality from the story. Not to mention, if it was written from the point of view of either of these other narrators, the story would have been unoriginal. It would have been just like thousands of other stories out there.


Being written from Jasper’s mother’s perspective, especially when the entire story is spent within a padded cell of a psych ward, allows the reader the closeness of seeing inside her head and staying there.

We know she’s not a reliable narrator from the story’s first paragraph.


“The angels guide me through a narrow doorway. I’m wearing a smile. It’s so nice here, with the cushioned, upholstered walls and neon blue mattress. Such colors! The walls may be white, but against he blue, they’re absolutely stunning.”


The ‘angels’ then leave our narrator in this small, padded room, ‘hugging’ herself. The audience may not receive a direct way of knowing where she is, but by the end, there is enough evidence to be sure she’s not in heaven the way she believes she is.

Now, the story itself isn’t original in anyway. This same mother-son idea has been used time and time again, but the creativeness of this piece lies in how it was told.


If I had been afraid to make a mistake, we wouldn’t have the original version, which can be found in Thistle, and we wouldn’t have its updated version, which can be found here.

If I had been too afraid to experiment with style, voice,

and tone, I would have ended up with a story that was just like many other stories. Looking at the draft that was released in Thistle, I’m ashamed that story came out of me, but I’m sure, in a few years, I’ll feel the same of its newest version.


Rather than let that stop me, I'm going to allow it to propel me forward.


We can only be as creative as we allow ourselves to be. We can only practice the mediums we love if we don’t allow fear to stop us. We can only evolve as much as we allow ourselves to evolve.


Remember: there is no glass ceiling talent.


There is only you and your own fears — fears you can overcome.


Harnessing creativity is all about listening to your inner voice and overcoming the part of that voice that says, ‘I can’t.’ It’s about telling yourself that you can, truly hearing the stories your inner voice wants to tell. It’s about allowing yourself to tell them in the medium or mediums you want to use.

You’re only as free as you allow yourself to be, and everyone deserves to be able to harness creativity.

This article series will help you to overcome your fears of listening to yourself, what you long to practice, and will give you the tools you need to allow yourself to dream on a canvas — whatever that canvas may be.

Helena A. Ortiz

July 15, 2020

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