Feelings of guilt in relationship to creation?


I was just wondering how people feel + how they process emotions of guilt when it comes to the amount you create/ how you use your time. I feel this looming dread over me a lot because I feel like I’m not doing enough. And it’s worse when I do come to create and make things and you can’t express it right and you feel guilty for not being good enough.

Wondering if anyone else feels anything like this. Please share as I would love to hear how other people deal with this:)


I feel the same way most of the time and I have no idea how to deal with it, especially because it‘s often a decision between spending time with loved ones or with other hobbies (were I can create things I like much more easily) and music-making. And even within music I feel like I should do a lot of things I don‘t end up doing like learning music theory or practicing piano instead of noodling on my modular.

So I‘m no help but maybe someone else has some insights.


I feel the exact same! When spending time with loved ones in free time away from work I feel guilty about not doing my hobbies, then when I do the hobbies I don’t see my loved ones enough and people say I am being distant and i’m unsure on how to balance both


Factor in GAS as a form of escapism from guilt, and you’re in the right path. The one and only solution I’ve found to work, and work a lot, is to organize your time. That and meditation.


I’m going to very overly simple, because these are complex issues. Guilt in particular is a complicated emotion. I’d encourage you or anyone who identifies with these kinds of thought patterns to find a therapist they like, as this is likely tied into a mess of other things in your life.

If you do not believe your need for creation is valuable and that your self-as-a-service-to-others is, you’re going to feel guilt in making time for the things you want or need to feed yourself. The ramifactions of that extend to everything.

If you can accept that your wants and needs are valuable, these feelings become more of a litmas test for how well you are caring for yourself rather than an extension of how you value your self to your self. If you’re focused primarily on results and not the actual value of the act of expression, however you need to define that, you will often find disappointment.

(I’m not in any capacity attempting to say any of these words are a solution to guilt. They are not. They merely another way of looking at it.)


Seconded. I struggle balancing prep for my classes at school/music/family, I often feel as though I cannot spend time creating music as i should be spending the little time I have free with my family. My wife and I have both decided we need time for ourselves. She sings, and I play with my new band. At the moment it’s nice to strike this compromise but I still feel like I am neglecting my family.


‘You and your machines’ is one of the most heard phrases used at home.

Depending on the context this could mean, you are in trouble or trouble is coming your way, pretty much.

But yes, i feel bad for not spending more time with my loved ones and less times with the machines.


Yes, this is an ongoing struggle. Has been for a very long time. I guess it has a lot to do with not being confident and comfortable with what I create musically. This means making music is often (always?) a cognitive stress, which opens the door to procrastination. This breeds guilt.

Of course, having a family and fairly a fairly busy job has just amplified the problem – when it comes to my own hobbies, I’m still reeling from the changes introduced by kids. No real solutions I’ve come across, but this topic resonates, in a big way.

I’ve never had much in the way of external pressure to spend less time making music, pretty much the opposite. But I myself tend to create an internal pressure to be ‘present’ during the evening at home, even if us both would just be watching various screens in separate rooms. :slight_smile:


I experience a lot of internal pressure to create, and my guilt tends to come from feeling like I’m over investing time/energy/money in my creative pursuits given that they won’t necessarily “add up” to anything concrete.

It can feel self-indulgent, and like it is stealing resources away from just enjoying my life and relationships.


I don’t think I’ve ever felt guilty for spending time in creative pursuits. I don’t have family obligations that would cause that though. My spouse is a writer who dabbles in pyrography, music, aquarium keeping and other things, so it’s not unusual that we’ll both be in the same room working on our own projects companionably.

But I used to have a pretty severe boom and bust cycle where it came to musical work. I’d finish an album in 3 weeks and then go for six months without creating anything, just killing time. Then I’d feel guilty (and various other flavors of bad) about wasting my time, or about buying gear I wasn’t using. I just didn’t feel motivated to start any projects during those phases.

What finally cured that was deciding to do a song-a-week project in 2016. At the beginning I’d find myself realizing Sunday afternoon I hadn’t “done my chores” yet, and force myself to rush something out. But I always enjoy the process once I beat that initial resistance. That resistance gradually disappeared though, and the creative flow just kept coming more easily.

While I’m not making 3-4 tracks a week now like I was for a while there, I also don’t go more than a few days in between musical projects.


I try to tell the difference between my lower emotions, like fear, unwarranted guilt and my intuition.

I try to listen to my intuition and “higher mind”.

Your feelings and thoughts are not always positive and helpful. Your conscience is always right imho.

Aside from that music is food for your mental health.


I sometimes wonder if that feeling of guilt comes from tying up too much of your self-worth in making art/music. I definitely feel like that somtimes.

I can also only echo @grey ‘s sentiment about finding a therapist and this guilt possibly being part of a bigger problem as I discovered over the last few months that this is very likely the case for me. I believe that making music should be something freeing and healthy, so if it becomes something that wears you down it‘s a good idea to evaluate where that comes from.


Helpful topic. I am primarily a video artist (I teach digital art for “a living”). I got into modular as a way of making sounds for my videos and for doing live video and media performances. The learning curve for doing sound for me is pretty steep. I’m often feeling guilty for spending time on the sound when I should be doing the “main” thing, the videos.

And of course, when my schedule gets messed up, I have to make the choices between work, home life, being social, and the two forks of my artistic practice. I also feel guilty that something is being neglected.

Maybe a lot of it is the feeling that sense I am “not good” at sound, it is a waste of time to work on it. Not at all rational though…


This. The struggle is real.


first, i’ll echo @grey’s statement re: therapy. shopping around for a therapist that fits and can help is one of the most rewarding labors i can think of.

to tide you over until then (should you go that route), i’ll say this: guilt almost invariably indicates a conflict between values. resolution of guilt occurs when the conflicted values are identified and mediated between. a fun (i mean i find this stuff fun) exercise is imagining the values as people, hearing what each has to say, and negotiating a compromise between them. this can be done in any medium, in process, but the end result will ideally be a behavioral change of some kind.

it might look like actually scheduling blocks of time for both creative pursuits and family time (or date nights, or whatev). or just carving out scheduled creative time in order to engage more thoroughly with your process (similarly to @Starthief’s weekly jam).

i can’t say that i experience guilt re: spending time on creative pursuits, as the people who care about me know how important such things are to me. they’re more likely to encourage me to spend more time making stuff. folks who haven’t prioritized my well-being (and their own, and thus the well-being of the relationship) aren’t in my life in any meaningful way, anymore. too short, and all that.

i do struggle with feels re: not spending enough time in the “lab”, and not seeing projects through to completion, and i suspect that’s largely an ADHD thing, and one i’m addressing with my own therapist (& my private self-therapies).


Oh man I feel this a lot. I work full-time in a very uncreative job, and often find myself too tired to do anything creative when I get home. My Dad complains if I don’t spend enough time with him, and I feel bad if I don’t see my partner at the weekend due to my need for creative time, even though he’s fully supportive.
A lot of what people have said about guilt has resonated with me though. Weekly jam sounds like a good idea and would force me to finish things!


balance is how i understand life to feel ok for me. i mean that it is necessary for me to emotionally fully feel functional. another big working assumption is that if i choose to be an artist (which i have since childhood), i have to put in the time. i approach my art as a job. ive built my life around allowing for this and i work another real day job to actually pay the bills as my approach to arts is not a financially profitable one.

but i suppose the main connection to op is that i do not feel guilt. i let my wife know i love and value her and we have a huge relationship of many facets. and one of those is that she knows my life is dedicated in many ways to art even if it does not pay the bills.

i will be 40 in a few months and it has taken most of my life to get to the artistic fluency i have with myself and world around me, to find a partner that fully without judgment and unselfishly supports this, to find a job that pays enough and allows a schedule that works for me.

so so so much seeking to find peace with self, minimize social stigma, family judgment (but mostly judgment of self). just knowing what one wants, identification and years and years of follow through on the plan: you are an artist who needs time and resources to make art and it is good and natural.

i think these are important highly personal/subjective questions. great to explore as direct implications for quality of life, self love vs loathing and attempts at living best version of self.


I see the word ‘balance’ appears here a lot, which seems to be central.

I know the listless feeling when I don’t spend time creating and appreciate the Disquiet Junto prompts as a way of addressing it.

The GAS issue seems to tap into the daydreaming/not-being-present kinda fantasies that arise when the listlessness sets in.

This quote is one I often return to consider:

“There’s an electronic producer called Leila, who’s a friend of mine, and she has wonderful insights into a lot of this stuff. She was talking about equipment and she was saying, ‘You should never have too much equipment!’, because any piece of gear you’ve got in your studio that you don’t use is going to be putting you on a guilt trip, making you feel bad when you need to feel good when you’re recording! You can end up thinking about the gear when you should be thinking about the music, when the gear’s only really there to express it.”


Feeling guilty as all hell right now as I’m using the pending arrival of the Mimeophon as the jumping-off point for my next set of patches, YouTube videos, and a live show or two. Currently my systems are unpatched and I’m doing nothing.

I feel guilty that I can’t have found a way around gear anticipation and HYPE but there it is. I was feeling like I was hitting the wall with my system and something new needed to come in to shake things up.


But you’re still making cool stuff with the new thing, and that might inspire you in future :slight_smile: