Overcoming creative block

Designing wedding flowers is a creative line of work. You might even call it a vocation. Not everyone can do it, and I count myself very lucky that I’m not one of those people who sees the world purely in terms of facts and figures. In an artistic profession, though, how do you stay creative? It’s a question posed by artists of all kinds, so I’d like to share my thoughts on it here.

First of all, I should point out that like many artists, I didn’t just wake up one morning and realise wedding flowers were going to be my future. I wasn’t touched by the hand of some floral muse who blessed me with a gift for blooms overnight. The passion for floristry was always there, but as with any skill you care about, I honed and developed it. My study of the floral arts took me to the Judith Blacklock Flower School in Knightsbridge – and when you’re learning from someone who has created arrangements for Kensington Palace and acted as a consultant to major TV channels, you can be sure you’re learning from the best!

Of course, the magic of any kind of art comes from the combination of structured academic training and inspired “eureka” moments. When the two work together, miracles happen, but the horror of creative block is well known. Even J K Rowling, whose prodigious success has been a guiding light for many, has been candid about her struggles to write the story of a certain boy wizard. Sometimes, the elegance of the finished article belies all the hard work that’s gone on behind the scenes (and I’m sure florists around the world will attest to this).

That’s not to say that I’d ever condone breaking your arm to buy yourself some time on a creative deadline (as it was claimed Ms Rowling did), but I, like many other artists and artisans, understand the pressure of creating to order. When you’re designing floral arrangements for a wedding, you can’t ask the happy couple to wait a couple of days because you’re not “in the zone” enough to give of your best.

Remember, creative block doesn’t just apply to people who offer their creative skills professionally. I’ve met brides and grooms who have looked at so many bridal magazines and websites that they’ve reached saturation point – they’ve seen so many of other people’s ideas that they can’t find any of their own.

So what to do? Creative work requires creative thinking, and I find it important to work in an environment that keeps my mind both active and focused. Active, because I’m always keen to find new ideas and new thought processes which will help my work become ever better; focused, because once I’ve found the right approach, I want to make sure it runs throughout all elements of a project and remains consistent.

Different creative people safeguard against creative block in different ways. Liberating your thinking is usually helpful, so try seeing/hearing/tasting/experiencing something new. If you use music for inspiration, don’t listen to the same piece over and over again – your thoughts will fall into a rut. Similarly, don’t sit staring at the same four walls looking for something new in the wallpaper – go out and look at something different. New combinations of stimuli, or even just clearing your head, can help creative thoughts to flow more easily.

Do you have a specific technique for overcoming creative block? I’d love to hear it!

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