Protecting Your Creative Time

Ideas for setting boundaries and embracing experience from Catherine Price


[Image: Rosemerry swims naked in an alpine lake and, despite the frigid water, has a smile on her face.] Just as we discuss in this episode, Christie and I took some time with other women friends to unplug and have amazing experiences—like hiking in Porphyry Basin and arriving at this high alpine lake. Those experiences are what fuel creative process—Catherine Price explains the science behind it in this episode.

Preview: Episode 45 with Catherine Price

It’s no surprise your phone can be a giant time suck—mindlessly scrolling through texts, checking apps, playing games—and this can sabotage your creative time. But in this Thursday’s episode of Emerging form, we learn how constant distractions can also inhibit you from fully living into your experiences, which keeps them from lodging in long term memories, which means that this raw data for creative connections is lost to you. How to protect our creative time and the integrity of our experience? That’s what we ask Catherine Price, science journalist, author and speaker. She has many great tips about why and how we should set boundaries, create healthy habits, and give your brain space to wonder. An essential episode for all creatives.

Catherine Price is a science journalist, speaker,  and author of books including How to Break Up With Your Phone, Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food, and the forthcoming book, The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again.  As a freelance journalist, her work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Parade, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Self, Medium, Health Magazine, and Outside, among others. She's also the founder of, which is part of her mission to help people scroll less and live more.

What We’re Reading and Listening to:


  • For a long time, I have been drawn to the blog of Janice Falls, Heart Poems, in which she shares poems and her thoughts on how they relate to our lives. I appreciate her editorial choices and her responses.

  • Could you use a good, moody, minor key melody to break open your heart, then turns into a piano solo that makes you fall in love with the world? I suggest “Eyes Shut” by Ólafur Arnalds and Alice Sara Ott. Actually, the whole album, The Chopin Project, is haunting, delicate, soul-stirring and curiosity making. Curious choices about including outside sounds—breath, birds, more … ahhhh.


  • In 2014, I was awarded a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism and during the fellowship meetings I had the honor of meeting Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter in person several times. They are some of the most kind, thoughtful and genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and they are about to celebrate their 75th (!!) wedding anniversary. This beautiful Washington Post profile provides a touching portrait of their marriage and how it has grown and evolved. Also on display: the quiet power of Rosalynn and how she inspired her husband to become an advocate for women’s rights.

  • I’ve become a fan of a new podcast called Grounded. Hosted by Dinée Dorame, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and a self-identified running nerd, the weekly podcast explores “the intersection between running, culture, land and community.” I loved this recent episode with Billy Mills, an Oglala Lakota distance runner, 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 10,000m run, and co-founder of the non-profit organization Running Strong for American Indian Youth.

  • Speaking of podcasts, my friend David Epstein hosts a fun podcast at Slate called “How to…” and this episode about “how to trick your brain into running longer” features three of my very favorite people — David, Alex Hutchinson and Shannon Palus. Alex is the author of of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, and Shannon is a senior editor at Slate and an accomplished runner.

Porphyry Basin

so oh slippery flesh song
of skinny oh dipping
into oh icy clear
of blue oh in the high
alpine lake, oh and oh
how the shiver oh
breath oh is oh
such wild thrill in the oh
can you oh even dream
of how good it is oh
to be oh just a few
more oh seconds
held by oh liquid snow
so oh yes so only
right oh here
and so oh yes so very
oh nakedly
yes oh alive

A Note About Paid Subscriptions:

First, we want to thank ALL our subscribers! We are so grateful you join us in this conversation about what it is to engage with yourself, the world and others in a creative way. And a BIG thank you to our paid subscribers. You make this podcast possible. Starting this month, only our paid subscribers will receive our bonus episodes as a thank you for their financial support. If you are not yet a paid subscriber, you can go now to our website, or by clicking the button below. Thank you!

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Two Questions:

(share your answers with us here on Substack or in our FB group)

  1. What ways do you protect your creative time?

  2. What app steals the most time from your day? Can you imagine deleting it?