The Guilt of Creating

It used to be that I would create something and feel proud, or satisfied, or relieved, or anything, really. Creation was a necessary release, and with every thing I created, I felt something. There was an emotion tied to it, a catharsis of some sort. Now, there’s often a guilt. A lack of satisfaction.

When I create something without a definitive ending, a full project that I’ve seen from beginning to ending, there’s a bit of guilt in place of the former relief. All those practice paintings are a waste of time. They serve no purpose. I gain nothing immediate from painting them. Maybe one day, in the long term, they’ll pay off somehow, in some small way. But what about now? There’s an emptiness in that uncertainty. The hope that one day all this practice will pay off. That all those things I made without regard for producing a high quality piece will be seen as anything worthwhile, should they be seen at all.

Is there a purpose if no one else sees them? Does it count if they’re only a fleeting thought on social media? What is it all for? Honestly, I’m not sure anymore. I love creating things. There’s nothing more satisfying than becoming invested in a project, no matter the reason, and seeing it through to the end. But it has also become guilt-inducing creating for the sake of it. Creating for practice. Like each piece needs a purpose. And improvement is a purpose, it just doesn’t tend to feel like it. It feels like it should already be good enough. Or better. But how do I get there without practice? Without progress?

So, I’ve been creating, and I’m trying to remember how to stay connected to the things I’m putting out there. How to channel what I’m feeling into that artistic catharsis that once carried me. To remember why these projects matter to me. That the things that matter are the same as the ones I’m proud of. And the things I’m proud of aren’t always perfect. And that’s ok. Love the things you create. Love creating. And let that be enough.


One thought on “The Guilt of Creating

Comments are closed.