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By Colleen McAllister

Stuck at home, staring at the same walls, unable to figure out how get inspired without getting in debt? Here are five things you can do to feed your creativity but don’t require you to open your wallet to do it.

Virtual Visits

Art galleries, aquariums, and museum visits often require time, gas, and entrance fees. Did you know you can do virtual visits for free from the comfort of your own home? Check out this list of 12 famous museums and galleries around the world you can visit virtually. Guess what? Zoos have got on board too! This list has 10 across the world you can try out.

Dance It Off

Sometimes we think creative work needs to feel like “work,” a.k.a. boring, hard, devoid of play. If you’re finding yourself chained to a desk trying to be “productive” but not getting anywhere, do this right now: find a song that gets you JAZZED, the one that you absolutely cannot NOT dance to. Turn off all the lights, close the door, put your headphones in (or turn up the speakers) and get down with your bad self. Shake your stuff, reawaken your brain’s connection to your body. Hit up Spotify or Pandora and let it suggest songs to you! Or try one of my personal faves: Click this — you’re welcome!

Tap into the Current

Listen to a movie soundtrack while you work. It could be anything from Wayne’s World, to Call Me By Your Name, to Moana to Moonlight. Music and creating go hand-in-hand. Film scores are built around rising and falling tension and emotion, so they subconsciously work beneath you, evoking from within.


Make a list of all the stuff you loved to do as a kid (finger paint, roll down hills, build forts, eat Jell-O) and pick one! Bring in a partner, you can even do some of these activities over Zoom (Hide-and-Go-Seek might be hard). We get so serious about our art and creations needing to sustain us we forget that at the root of it, we’re drawn to play. We seek connection with others and connection with our self. Lose yourself in your imagination. Listen to what comes up for you. What do you want to do more of? Does a character you’re writing need to do this activity too? Do they miss the feel of paint on their fingers?

Go for a Walk

You know this already! It’s literally one of the best ways to get ideas unstuck. Walking frees up brain space to think through problems and helps quiet your internal voice. What are you waiting for? GO FOR A WALK! IT’S FREE!

If you’re stuck creatively, looking for inspiration or not sure where to begin, you don’t need to wait for the writer’s retreat, expensive classes, supplies, or “How To” books. We can do much by letting go a little. Take the chains off your creation and allow yourself to seek. It’s free.

For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.

Colleen McAllister is a comedy writer. She’s currently working on an upcoming animated series for Nickelodeon and recently wrote on the I ♥ Arlo animated series which premieres on Netflix August 27, 2021. Before making the leap to writing full-time she was a film and TV executive and worked on such titles as Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, SING, Hasbro’s My Little Pony Franchise and the Littlest Pet Shop series.

Images provided by author.