Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Keeping creativity alive

Pacer Notes


ROGERSWhen I was younger and full of boundless energy, creative writing used to be easy.

I wasn't sure how everyone didn't just become authors, because that seemed like the easiest thing ever — short of astronauts, race car drivers and veterinarians. I’ll take a second to qualify that last statement, mostly because all four professions I’ve listed require an absurd amount of work.

Even outside of writing, innovation was easy for me — I swore by wearing my shoes on the wrong foot, inventing my own fashion trends (overalls) and generally being a nonconformist. Lately though, I’ve found that my creative mind has lain dormant, inducing terrible bouts of writer's block. I think this is what adult life must be like — or, at least, the adult life of my nightmares.

I wish I could point to some important event that happened and say that it was what definitively killed my creative mind. (I like to imagine it perished in a fiery explosion, set to some dramatic cinematic soundtrack.) I’d like to stand up and point, accusingly, at Common Core, or some class that killed creativity, but I can't. I’m very good at multiple choice tests, but this skill did not develop by neglecting my creative side.

I used to be more creative. I took inspiration from all sorts of things, and everything seemed worth imagining. My friends and I discussed sure ways to success — books, apps and bands. We figured we had the faculty to do those things. One of our earlier plans involved a book simply entitled, “Fishes Eat Trees,” and it would have been one of those books that was simply a compilation of a variety of stories, advice columns and essays. In English class this year, a friend of mine found our drafts. The writing was inarguably terrible, but the spark was there.

I don't put that part of my mind to the test anymore — I never found time for art classes, creative writing, drama. It's something I regret, not pushing my comfort zones the same way I could have. This column is the closest I get to anything remotely imaginative. The next most creative thing I do is finding some new and unfamiliar way to get those problems on the math homework completely wrong.

To be fair, that probably doesn't count. I’ve always thought creativity requires some sort of conscious effort, and my wrong answers are the results of whole-hearted attempts to get the answer right.

It’s now officially 2016, which means that this column is about to discuss resolutions (you should have known I was getting to this), so here’s mine, conveniently put into print so that I have to adhere to it: Be more creative. Make those hot chocolate mixes you saw on Pinterest. Try cooking something for once that has more than five ingredients. Write something, preferably something brilliant. If I want to have any chance of combating the pull to become that supposed drone I am going to be — thanks to the multiple choice madness — then consciously reminding myself to think outside of the box might be my only hope.

I don't necessarily want to be an author anymore, which is OK. Adult life is a scary thought, rapidly becoming reality. I’m growing up, which is a good thing. I’d hate to spend my time here convinced that it actually didn't matter what foot each shoe went on, or thinking that Lewis and Clark was one person — Lewis Ann Clark. All I’m asking for is some ounce of creativity to carry me through. I want to make new things and innovate, and that requires more than just a rational mind.

Come on 2016. Don't let me down already.

Lakeridge High School senior Christena Rogers is one of two Pacer Notes columnists for The Review. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..