Drawing, cooking, adventuring: what does creativity mean to you?

Editor of 99% Lifestyle magazine, Conor Rees, wants you to live life a little differently.

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99 Percent Lifestyle magazine aims to inspire and motivate readers to live a more creative life.

Whether that’s planning a life-changing adventure, starting a new business or creating your own signature dish – it’s packed from page to page with riveting articles and fantastic photography to encourage you to live life a little differently.

So how does editor, Conor Rees live life to the fullest?

Where did the idea for 99 Percent Lifestyle come from?

“It came from a university project. I went to the University of Worcester two years ago and in my final year of journalism I took a magazine module.

“There was an awards ceremony called the Midlands Media Awards. I submitted the 99% Lifestyle spread that I created and it won me the overall Student of the Year Award.

“This suggested that there was a market out there and an audience who want to read a magazine like this. After this I started to create 99 Percent Lifestyle properly, funded through The Prince’s Trust.”

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Why do you think we should live a creative life?

“Creativity isn’t just as simple as being good at art or drawing. It’s a way of expressing what you want and how you feel. I always ask people to give their own definition of ‘being creative’, that’s always really interesting because you hear totally different responses. For some, it’s as simple as cooking a meal.

“I think it’s more about having an outlet to express your thoughts and passions into the world. Instead of bottling it all up – it’s more healthy to live creatively. Whether it’s cooking or planning a trip somewhere. It’s a way to live life to the full.”

Is the magazine your creative outlet?

“I’ve never actually thought about it that way, but I think that’s fair to say. It started out as - and still is - me talking about the stuff I'm interested in. Even though it’s refined I make sure it’s a topic I want to know more about.”

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You put a lot of effort and hard work into the magazine – does this make it difficult to be creative?

“Yes. It’s hard if you second guess yourself. In the upcoming issue I’m having a chat with a writer and poet based in America. She talks about how being creative shouldn’t be for others – it should be for you.

“In the past I’ve spent a lot of time sourcing an interview and doing lots of work and then I’ve thought: Will anyone even read this? What’s the point?

“But if you think like that you get bogged down and lose motivation. If you’re doing it for yourself it’s a lot more fun and worthwhile, and you learn so much on the way.”

Where do the topics come from?

“I usually have ideas, but it’s very rare that I have an idea fully formed. If you look at the articles that go into the magazine they always involve another person. It might stem from an interview or another person's thoughts.

“For example, in issue one I knew I wanted to look at the process of filmmaking – especially something visual, in great detail. Which is why I interviewed Jacob Boghosian, the graphic designer behind the The Stranger Things logo.”


“A lot of my time is spent finding people to interview and approaching them with the premise of the article. The idea develops after the conversation.

“Sometimes I’ve gone into an interview thinking that it’ll be a great feature in the creative section but after the interview, when I’ve written it all up and read through it, I've realised that it might work better as something completely different – like the video game industry in the last issue.

“It all starts with finding people, or being aware of people. Even if it’s just as simple as seeing their Instagram account. I have a folder of bookmarks tilted ‘possible interviews’. Whenever I see a piece of work that I enjoy I add it to that. If I need content for the next issue I come back to this folder and fire a few emails off.

“You can learn so much from other people. Everyone has had a difference experience.”

What do you think is the difference between creativity and originality?

“Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be original. Instead it can mean putting your own spin on something that already exists – take inspiration from something and do it in your own way.”

What would you put in Room 101?

"Because of the rise in anxiety and depression in our modern world, I’d put fake social media lifestyles in there. I hate seeing people wishing they could live this perfect lifestyle like bloggers and famous Instagram influencers – it’s not real.

"This ‘for show’ lifestyle status has caused a lot of problems.

"I enjoy listening to Simon Sinek. He’s an entrepreneur and a motivational speaker. He talks a lot about how social media is an addiction. He explains how when using social media, our bodies release a chemical called dopamine that’s released into your body when you drink or gamble. It’s the same with social media, which is what makes it so addictive.

"I have social media, and I love Instagram, but you need to be smart with it. If you’re looking at all of these ‘perfect’ snapshots, you’ve got to know it’s not their whole life – it’s like looking at the best bits."

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What’s next for 99 Percent Lifestyle?

“It’s a slow process because I’m on my own. As things grow I’m going to have to take people on.

“I want to produce two good articles a week, a weekly newsletter and update the social channels. Plus I’d like to incorporate other stuff into the mix further down the line like a podcast and merchandise. I’ve always wanted to start a clothing line too.

"The plan is to get issue three done. There are only 1,000 copies for publication at the moment –  as soon as I can get to around 2,000 copies or higher, it'll help the magazine to be distributed internationally – I'd love to see it published in the US and Australia.

"I know it’s not going to happen overnight, so it’s baby steps for now."