This is something I ran into for a long period of my life. I recently started a friendship with someone and they expressed that they suffer the similar condition, so I wanted to share my experiences and how I got past it.
It comes down to work and not being able to spend time creating something, or writing something from scratch.
Whenever you have extra time, you’re always thinking about the other things you could be doing. Learning something new to further your career, working on some extra work to try to make more money, and so on.
I used to be really stuck in this loop. I had ideas for stories I wanted to write, or games I wanted to develop, but I couldn’t do it. Whenever I would maybe have the time to work on it, my brain would always be whispering, “You should be doing this other thing, or you should be learning this other thing. Writing stories is a waste of time. Developing games is just a waste of time.”
This is related, although it doesn’t seem like it. One time, my wife bought a canvas for me to paint. I’ve never painted on a canvas in my life up until this point. I decided to paint a science-y kind of picture, just a star field. I did this and it took about two hours, and I was happy with the results. I realized several months after that that during the creation of it, I had none of those whispers of self doubt in my head.
There is fundamentally no difference between painting a picture, or writing a story, or developing a game. I am a software developer, and the way I create is writing software. So, creating a game and working on that game is a form of art. Art doesn’t necessarily have to have a financial end, that’s not the point of art.
Once I realized this, I found out that I was able to work on small side projects that would in all likelihood not make any money. Whenever the whispers would start to happen in my mind, “You should be working on something that makes money”, etc, I could just remind myself that I am a human. It is important for me to make art.
If you have similar whispers, I encourage you to remember.. You are a human! Art is important, and your medium can be whatever you want it to be.