The last months have been odd; I feel both restless and inexplicably tired, both so keen to create yet shamefully uninspired. At a time when it has seemed insensitive to speak of anything other than the health consequences of the pandemic, I’ve struggled to string together words that explain what owning a small business and financing creativity feels like these days.
I’ll be honest, I’m grappling with the situation. I no longer feel the excitement I once did when a visual concept came to mind; the way in which I’d rush to photograph it for my own personal creative endeavours. And those endeavours are often what fuel the thought process behind most of the work I do for clients. Without my own personal creative experimentation, running a content creation business becomes a lot more challenging. Most of my sources of inspiration are out of reach and have been for a year; the piano recitals, the poetry readings I would enjoy at one of the two corner bars that have since both permanently shut down, the spontaneous conversations shared with strangers I’d stumble into on a night out, continuous trips to Paris… I’d go on, but I suppose you get the gist. This melancholy translates onto my work, and overcoming it requires a level of discipline I never knew I had.
Yet the greatest obstacle of all – money. Money is rarely spoken about on a vulnerable level, yet as many doors as creativity can open, they’d still lead nowhere without financing. Covid-19 took away all hope of financial stability for us small business owners; we never truly know what might happen tomorrow. Another lockdown, perhaps? A 9PM curfew that will burn a hole in the pockets of F&B businesses and all those who work with or for them? Or an even earlier one that will tarnish the lengthy recovery process for any brick-and-mortar business? I’ve been fortunate to live in a country that hasn’t gone full speed on restrictions like such; my friends and clients overseas are having it far worse. But the uncertainty remains – and marketing/creative occupations such as my own rely on the livelihood of these businesses. And their livelihood relies on us.
The pandemic seeps in to every aspect of our work; shipping delays and factory closures make getting anything done a challenge. I kickstart projects with brands that are postponed, over and over – there’s nothing more frustrating than doing all you can but still having to shrug control into the arms of covid.
It all seemed doable about a year ago. We figured this would last months, and then we’d bounce back to normality. We’d create art inspired by our homes, we’d use this extra time inside to explore our creativity. We’d source inspiration on Pinterest boards and appreciate beauty in the little things; the quick walks and the fresh air. We operated on the hope that this would end soon, but the way in which it has dragged out has ensured a lengthier recovery time for all businesses.
And so, I might not have been able to provide an ounce of positivity here, but if you’ve stuck through the whole entry – I implore you to support small, passionate businesses. The businesses that treat their workers fairly and work day and night to ensure they’ll provide products of great quality; the businesses that just won’t survive without us. And if you too run a business? Go easy on yourself. These are trying times, and pushing through them is commendable to say the least.