Making creative time in a world of busy

Brooke Boland

Two creatives share their advice on how to find time for creativity and professional development in a busy life.
Making creative time in a world of busy

Image: supplied.

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The truth is, we’re all busy. We have personal and professional commitments, side projects, nine-to-five jobs, social events, family time to juggle. And what happens within all this busy-ness is the time we intend to make for our own creative development gets pushed aside to tomorrow, next week, or when we can “fit it in”. 

For Actor Tony Adams, it isn’t so much a question of finding time, but making a space for creativity that leads to time.

‘The challenge as always is to keep some sort of balance. If you want to have that creative time, you have to somehow try to make space for it. I’m not sure it is about finding time. You have to make a space and then suddenly within that space you discover there is time,’ said Adams.

Adams works full time in a demanding job. He has a family and a mortgage to pay — responsibilities that can’t be set aside or postponed. But he wanted to pursue acting and enrolled in NIDA Actors Studio in Melbourne. NIDA Studio courses run part-time for six or 12 months and are delivered on weekends. This timetable fitted in with Adams’ other commitments and in addition to the one day a week in class, he set aside one day for professional development.

‘I was thinking, how do I find time to do this because I’m so busy? I think that’s the wrong way to look at it because there are always things that need your attention, there are always things that are competing for your time. So rather than think of it like that I thought, “How do I make a space? A space in the week that is just devoted to this creative thing”,’ he said.  

‘Mentally that was a really huge step. I still had the issues of juggling everything, I don’t think that ever changes, but that was how I managed to do it. To turn up and give a whole day — 1/7 of the week — every week for a year.’ 

‘I wasn’t rushing and saying “I only have an hour here” and watching the clock trying to squeeze in as much as possible and tick all the boxes. I didn’t do that. I was able to say, okay today is the day, just relax. Immerse myself in the experience and give myself the freedom to be expressive and to absorb.’

For Alana Stewart, who completed the Young Actors Studio last year, the juggle worked out a little differently. ‘I’m definitely a juggler. I have strong arms,’ she joked.

At the time, Stewart was completing year 12 and worked part-time after school. She was focussed on her career ambitions and decided to complete the studio course as a way to get into NIDA in the future. 

‘When I was preparing to audition to get in to NIDA, I kept thinking, “I’m doing year 12, this is crazy! I have too much going on.” But then if I took the time to just put both feet on the floor and breath, what really mattered to me was the pursuit of my career, so I would make that time. There’s always ten minutes in the day where you can do that one thing you really love,’ she said.

Stewart said she would use her commute time to and from school to read plays and finish off homework. ‘You always have time and if you truly love something you’ll always have time, even if that’s only ten minutes before bed. Just do one thing each day to help you reach your goal.’

Now a full-time first year acting student at NIDA, the hard work has payed off. Her advice to others facing the juggle of work, study, and professional development is to introduce structure to your day through a balanced diet and a good sleeping pattern. ‘These not only give you energy to keep going, but they allow everything else to be slotting in around it and give your day structure,’ she said.

‘I’m forgetful as well, so I always write things down and tick things off gradually but I never beat myself up if that didn’t happen because if you love something, you’re always going to try to do it anyway.’

Visit nida.edu.au/studios to find out more about NIDA Studio courses.

About the author

Brooke Boland is a Melbourne-based freelance writer.

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