Creativity and the Traditional Workshops
National University- Dr.
Shaiyla Hakeem
March 28, 2010

Creativity can be defined in several different ways. Creativity is a natural ability that cannot be taught, only improved upon. Levels of creativity vary from person to person due to life experiences, demographics, gender, openness and barriers that may inhibit imagination. Traditional workshops may not be the best means for enhancing creativity for everyone, but it is essential for growing and expanding the imagination and confidence for beginning writers, especially poets. Many consider writers as being given the gift to fill the empty space within a blank sheet. Not everyone can do it, nor does everyone enjoy to do it.
Creativity levels will vary from student to student which is why traditional workshops work so well for beginning writing. Information compiled by Sarbo and Moxley (2007) reveals that, ?While there is agreement that creative people, for example, tend to be self-confident, autonomous, skeptical, insightful, sensitive, and have high self-esteem, there appears to be not one, but several distinct types of creative personalities? (p. 137). One?s personality will determine how effective a traditional workshop is, but everyone, regardless of their personality, can pull something positive from a traditional workshop.
The Myers-Briggs Models states that introverts usually require seclusion and time to gather ideas for writing (Sarbo & Moxley, 2007, p. 137). This may be problematic for in-class writing exercises in a workshop, but for exercises that are to be completed in leisure time, workshop exercises can be beneficial. In addition, since on-the-spot writing may be difficult for introverts, practice doing so will only strengthen their creative writing skills. As a creative writer, you should be proficient in one specific area, but able to conquer a variety of writing tasks.
In contrast, extroverts, according to the Myers Briggs Model, don?t need much preparation and are better with freewriting than introverts (Sarbo & Moxley, 2007, p. 137). Extroverts would greatly benefit for in-class writing exercises as in a traditional writing workshop, but out of class writing exercises would also benefit them. It seems that both introverts and extroverts can greatly benefit from the workings inside a traditional creative writing workshop. Though there may be some aspects that aren?t beneficial to all students, each student can gain some type of knowledge or skill from the workshop.
Feldusen (N.D.) says that, ?Research shows that creativity grows through childhood but tends to slump around the fourth-grade level, or ages 9-10, and resumes growth again in high school and young adulthood if there are appropriately educational facilities? (p. 776). Essentially, creativity, or lack there of, can be drastically affected by ones demographic environment, culture and upbringings. Since Feldusen believes that creativity growth is most prominent during childhood, young adulthood and adulthood, it is safe to say that proper creative exercises administered during theses years can improve overall creative abilities.
In regards to creative writing, gender, geological demographic, race and life experiences all play a role in how creative one is. For example, growing up as a military brat may make ones perspective on life very patriotic or strict. Someone growing up in a single parent home versus the traditional household will impact how holidays, special occasions and family outings are viewed. Someone who has been in a hurtful relationship or has experienced a divorce will portray love somewhat differently than someone who has never had their heart broken. A man will view life differently than a woman and an African American will express different stand points and values than a Caucasian. The examples illustrating how varying backgrounds impact creativity and expression are endless and traditional workshops provides a diverse environment where all of these standpoints, and more, can be understood.
Someone who grows up in a family of writers versus a family of scientists will have different levels of creativity in regards to writing. Each person would have been exposed to different things during their peek years of creativity development. This would result in varying levels of creativity and varying levels of exposure to the craft. This is more than likely why some students are more advanced in creative writing than others. Past and exposure to writing during the development stages as described by Feldusen (N,D.) also determines how participative one will be while engaging in creative writing workshops. Traditional creative writing workshops will provide a basic and constructive environment for all writers, regardless or how advanced