“How does the robot get out of the pit?”

This is something I asked myself recently as I wrote a scene for my sci-fi novel. If you’re wondering what this has to do with creativity, bear with me!

I found myself stuck on a problem—my protagonist’s big problem: how to get a robot out of an empty pit that was built for a skyscraper’s base.

Several rejected ideas later, I was so frustrated that I let it go…

And quit writing for a few days. I found it easier to watch YouTube videos, check social media, and refresh news articles.

If you’re struggling to stay creative right now, you’re not alone!

Many of my writer friends, bloggers, and online creators have commented about how difficult it’s been to keep going in the face of so much chaos in our world.
There have been days when I’ve given up and skipped writing. That has led to several days in a row… which can turn into a week, and I get disappointed in myself.

I’m all for taking a few days off. Sometimes it’s exactly what we need, but if you’ve hit a roadblock and can’t seem to get back on track, then it’s time to try something new.

 A few simple strategies have helped me climb out of my own skyscraper pit. Perhaps they will help you too…

Tip 1 – Put your phone out of sight when creating.

This seems like a no-brainer, right? If your phone is on while you are writing/blogging/painting, you will probably be distracted if it rings or chimes.

But research published by the University of Chicago found that even if cell phones are turned off, face down or put away, their mere presence reduces people’s cognitive capacity.

Test subjects who kept their phones on their desk (turned off) performed significantly worse on cognitive tests that measure focus. Those who kept their phone in their handbag did better.

Those who had their phone in another room performed the best.

Check yourself, where is your phone right now? Pay attention to where it sits when you are in your creative zone. Can you keep it out of your space entirely?

I’ve been testing it out by keeping my phone upstairs in the living room while I do deep, focused work in my office. After clearing out some big client deliverables, I’m now convinced! And I don’t miss the phone at all.

Tip 2 –  Tidy your space.

Have you ever taken the time to organize your desk or closet and felt incredibly light-weight afterward?

Clearing physical clutter leads to clearing space in our heads for joy and creativity.

Check out my article Declutter Your Space and Reboot Your Creativity for more on this topic.

Tip 3 – Take time in your day to rest and have moments of joy.

“I am not a machine; I need rest.”

This is something I’ve had to stop and say to myself. Seriously.

I’ll get swept up in creative ideas and think:

  • I can knock this out in 2 hours. (No, I can’t!)

  • Oh! Look at that cool project. Let me tackle it!

  • I want to add 5 more goals to my list… Where’s that trello board?

Maybe it’s my type A personality surfacing, or my hyper-organized project manager brain, but I have to remind myself to slow down.

When I take time to go for a walk, meditate, or drink a coffee outside while gazing at trees and sky—those are the best moments!

Quiet moments when you are disconnected—that’s when the magic happens in your brain.

It’s when you solve that design issue you had.

Or when you figure out how to get your robot out of a pit. 🤖

Creative pic of the week…. I grabbed my husband yesterday after dinner to run upstairs and check out the amazing sky just before a huge storm rolled in. Can you believe this is Chicago?

Sci-fi Space Opera for Charity

Do you enjoy space opera such as Firefly, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica? Well, I have a treat for you! I wrote a story for the new anthology Beyond the Galaxy.

Proceeds from book sales go to Tech Bridge Girls, a nonprofit that excites, educates, and equips girls from low income communities with STEM programming that empowers girls to achieve economic mobility and better life chances.

If you’d like to check out an excerpt and consider purchasing the book, here’s the link.

Tip of the Week

Schedule thinking time. It’s challenging to do this when we have busy schedules and our days are filled with pressing needs like work, managing time with family, and trying to stay healthy. But if you can manage a 15-20 minute time slot at the end of your week to reflect on your dreams and goals, that is time well spent.

Question for you: What are you working on lately? How’s it going? Reply and let me know.