Frustrated event planner at her desk

The Event Planner’s Guide to Surviving a Creative Slump

“Event planning” isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when most people think about art and creativity. Organization! Coordination! Agendas! Project management software! All that stuff is pretty far off from the image of the solitary artist in his studio or the serious poet hunched over her typewriter.

But as an event planner, you know that’s not quite true. A stunning wedding or event is artistic and creative—and you’re the force behind that! From artistic event décor to engaging social media content, creativity is built into the job description.

Sometimes, though, that creative side can kind of flag. Like writers experiencing the infamous writer’s block, planners can hit a creative slump where the ideas just don’t seem to be coming. “Planner’s block” is a pain, but don’t worry—it’s not the end of your career! Read on for our top tips on getting those artistic juices flowing again.

Take a Break

Sitting at your desk, staring blankly at your computer screen or notepad… trust us, everyone’s been there. Maybe you’re stumped for blog topics. Maybe you’re struggling to come up with an original event concept. Maybe you want to grow your business, but don’t know where to go.

Whatever the project, the ideas just aren’t coming. So what should you do next? Take a break.

It might seem counterintuitive. Hard work pays off—as a small business owner you know that better than anyone. But creativity works a little different. You can’t force ideas. Trying just wears you out. Sometimes all you need is some time away from your work, whether that’s an hour walking your dog or a few days’ vacation.

Even switching tasks can help get you inspired. Close that tricky blog post. Send a few emails. Get a head start on your tax returns. Setting aside the project you’re stuck on keeps you from getting frustrated. Plus, it gives your creative muscles a much-needed break.

Woman with her dog on the beach

Look for Inspiration…

Check out other event planners’ websites. What do their portfolios look like? What have they been blogging about? What’s popping up on their social media? You might see something that gets you thinking, and next thing you know you’ll have an original idea all of your own.

And don’t limit yourself to looking at other event planners’ work, either. Check out wedding and event blogs and Pinterest boards—but also try going beyond the event industry. Read the book that’s been on your to-read list for five months. Take a walk through a local garden. Visit an art gallery or a museum. Pick up a new magazine. Go see a movie. You get the idea.

Woman at the movies

As someone who specializes in event décor and design, you’re all about the details. Sometimes all it takes is a certain color, pattern, accessory, or quote to get you thinking. Or maybe that movie you finally took the time to watch this weekend will inspire you to start the next Great Gatsby-esque event trend. Soaking up other people’s creativity is a surefire way to kick-start your own!

… But don’t get too sidetracked

You take five minutes to read your favorite blogger’s new post… but next thing you know, you’re on page forty-eight of a Scandinavian dog trainer’s blog and three hours have passed. Oops.
The Internet is a wonderful resource, but it’s also a minefield for distraction. It’s tough to find that balance between looking for inspiration and mindlessly scrolling through page after page of cat pictures. But someone (you) has to do it.

Creativity takes time, and as an event planner that’s something you always seem to be short on. If you find yourself too rushed to sit down and brainstorm, think about where you can cut back. Do you spend an hour looking at other people’s blogs every day? Cut that in half. Thirty minutes looking at other people’s awesome posts, thirty minutes working on your own stuff.

While you can’t force creativity, it does need some space to grow. Giving it that space might be all you need to beat that creative slump and get your wedding and event planning artistry back in gear.

Dig Deep

Sometimes a creative slump is just a creative slump. And sometimes it’s not.

If you’ve been hitting that creative wall for a while now, sit back and think. What else is going on in your career right now? What about in the rest of your life? Are there people, projects, or situations sapping your event planning energy? Is your business not going where you want it to go?

Woman sitting by the lake

Deaths, divorces, and other rough personal issues can all contribute to an event planner’s creative slump, but it doesn’t have to be something so severe. Maybe you’re working with a difficult client, or you’re stressed out about planning a major event. Maybe your wedding blog isn’t getting the reach you were hoping for, and you’re finding it hard to get the motivation to keep writing.

Whatever the situation, think about how you can cope. If it’s something you can change, come up with a game plan for getting things back on track. If it’s out of your control, you may just have to ride it out for now. Even if that’s the case, reminding yourself that there’s an end in sight may be all you need to get those ideas flowing again.

Have you ever struggled through a creative slump? How did you cope? Share your top tips for wedding and event planners in the comments!

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