Today, I want to reflect on an inescapable feeling that sits at the heart of my own experience as an independent musician and driven creative person who is determined to impart my own unique footprint on this world while I’m still alive. I don’t want to sound dramatic. Still, I feel like my own experience is likely common, an unspoken agreement made when one first decides to pursue the creative arts at some level of seriousness. The feeling that I’m talking about – let’s call it Musician’s Guilt.
As mentioned briefly in the previous paragraph, I don’t doubt that this affliction affects all ‘driven creative people’ to some extent but since my own experience is one as a musician, I’m going to stick to what I know and not assume the experience of others.
We all have those days where we feel guilty about not being productive enough. But beating yourself up is counterproductive and can even become a vicious cycle of negativity. When I don’t get anything done creatively, I start to feel bad about myself, which sinks my confidence and mood. That makes it even harder to motivate myself and be productive the next day. It’s easy to get stuck in this downward spiral of failing to achieve goals, feeling inadequate, and then not accomplishing anything due to low motivation. The guilt eats away at you.
This paralysing feeling has often prevented me from making music or doing creative work. I would regularly end up wasting time feeling bad about being unproductive instead of channeling that energy into something positive. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where my guilt over lack of output causes me to be even less productive. Breaking out of that cycle is so important if I want to maintain consistent and positive artistic habits.
The Habit App
Lately I’ve been trying to shift my mindset and focus more on maintaining positive daily habits, rather than judging myself for what I haven’t accomplished. To help with this, I downloaded an app called Habit to help track my progress. Some of the habits I’ve added so far are:
- Write a blog post (weekly)
- Drink 2.6L of water (daily)
- Workout – gym, run or sports (daily)
- Work on a song x5 (weekly)
- Read a book (daily)
- Bed before 11pm (daily)
- Practise piano (daily)
- Practise guitar (daily)
- Track expenses (weekly)
A screenshot from the app
As you can see, I’m making great headway in some areas, and not so much in others. As positive as ‘Bed before 11pm’ might be, perhaps I need to be more realistic. I intend to continue adding new habits and adjusting existing ones based on what feels achievable versus needs adjustment.
The app makes it easy to track the progress of each goal and check off when completed. Seeing those coloured rows pile up is really motivating!
Building Better Routines
I’m still getting used to building these habits, but already feel more focused and intentional with my time. Musician’s Guilt still sneaks up occasionally, but focusing on progress rather than perfection has been really helpful. I’ll plan to share more updates as I keep using Habit to build better routines. Small steps forward add up over time!
Let me know if you have any habits you’re trying to build lately – maybe we can swap productivity tips. For now, I’m off to work on a new song before calling it a day.