BITE Focus

How do you solve a problem like staying creative in the midst of a global pandemic?

Practical tips from creative leaders and entrepreneurs about how to get shit done in the midst of the current crisis.


“You can’t be all things to all people all of the time or you will burnout,” says Sarah Ellis, Co-Founder of Amazing If, as she perfectly articulates the pressures facing employees, freelancers and creative entrepreneurs alike in the midst of the coronavirus crisis,

If perhaps our collective response to the first lockdown was to treat it as if it were a sprint, as we navigate the second lockdown, we now know the crisis is more of a marathon. Ironically in our working lives this sprint may well be manifesting itself in the act of sitting still while on back-to-back video calls, but the sense of exhaustion is nonetheless profound.

For Ellis, this means that as individuals and organisations alike, we need to “look after our time and our mental health.” In practice this means learning to say no and create boundaries. It is a struggle which can be particularly acute for women; as Ellis adds, “I very rarely hear women saying no.” It’s an approach which can mean that it is even harder to launch something new, start something new or even feel that you have any ownership over your own career trajectory. 

Think, would not starting this project or idea make me more miserable than failing? If the answer is yes then get going!

Rebecca Rowntree

The power of no

For Sherry Collins, the Founder, Editor and Creative Director of The Pitch Fanzine, being focused as a creator, entrepreneur and business owner, means being intentional about how she uses her time. “Social media is such a time suck. LinkedIn is great for my brand but I am mindful of how much time I spend on social,” she explains.
Notably, rather than espousing the ‘always on’ rhetoric often favoured by the marketing and creative industries, Collins instead explains how she uses social as a ‘library’ for her magazine, highlighting not just the magazine’s content but also how readers interact with it. This gives her the space to focus her creative energy on The Pitch Fanzine’s twice weekly newsletters, the printed magazine, the platform, initiatives and campaigns. “leaving not much time for social media."

Done is better than perfect

Being intentional about how you spend your time is vital if you are seeking to get a new creative endeavour, brand launch or campaign off the ground. In the midst of the current crisis, as a plethora of Christmas adverts hit our screens, the collective critique has rightly given way to a universal sense of support for simply getting the work out of the door in the current climate. 

As the coronavirus crisis only lengthens, the sentiment that ‘done is better than perfect’ has never been more apt. Yet even prior to the pandemic, as Rebecca Rowntree, Creative Director and Host of the This Way Up podcast, explains, getting your ideas out in the world starts with talking about them. 

In fact, when Rowntree had the idea for the podcast, she began approaching renowned women that were going to be at Cannes Lions to see if they would be interested in meeting up and appearing on her podcast before every detail was ticked off her to-do list.
She explains: “The truth was I hadn’t even got a logo and I certainly didn’t know where I was going to host it or even how I would get anyone to listen to it! But thankfully these first women agreed to be recorded and suddenly I had a podcast. And I’m so grateful to them for saying yes because what they didn’t know at the time is that they enabled my dream. One that I’d been wanting to start for years, recording women’s careers so every woman could have a role model, something I really missed out on in the male dominated creative advertising industry.” 

Rowntree shares that these first interviews in fact helped her overcome her biggest fear: putting herself ‘out there’.  She says, “Weirdly I didn’t lack confidence interviewing these women, I even knew I would find ways to edit and release this podcast but the very thought of putting my voice out there terrified me. For the simple but powerful reason of the fear of failure.”

Yet , despite this fear, she recognised a fundamental truth, that the idea of not pursuing her dream was more terrifying than failing. As she adds: “All the self-help books say in order to pursue a dream you must ‘start’, but I would also add that in order to start you really need to understand the reasons why you don’t want to do something, accept it and then think would not starting this project/idea make me more miserable than failing? If the answer is yes then get going!”

We want to help you get going. Join co-host’s Rebecca Rowntree and Nicola Kemp, alongside Sarah Ellis and Sherry Collins at BITE LIVE 2020 for practical insight and advice into starting something new and staying creative and productive in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Tune in next Wednesday 25th November at 2pm, tickets are free and available here, Change, creativity & courage in a crisis

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Creativity BITE LIVE 2020