💡✍️ADN #085: A Framework For Frustration

adn085 artist development artist development newsletter creativity frustration Jul 07, 2024

The feeling of frustration is, well, frustrating.

It’s like that road you can’t find when you know there is another better way, yet you can’t seem to get there.

When I feel this way, everything is less focused.

The world around me doesn’t shine in technicolor.

It looks gray.

It’s like if we’ve played a show, and I know we could have played better.

Or when I know there is a better line for a song, but it remains elusive.

Like any opportunity where you know what to do but didn’t land it the way you know you could have.

All there is in that moment is frustration.


Because until something is done with the frustration, it will sit there nagging away, keeping your brain from anything more productive.

So, what can you do?

Here is a framework for when your frustrations get the best of you.

Let’s call it the “Walk/Write/Read/Talk” framework.

The approach is simple, but the truth is, when I’m frustrated, all I want to do is shut down when, in reality, the best thing to do is to get the frustration in motion.


  • Walk
  • Write
  • Read
  • Talk

Walk -

My go-to anytime I’m feeling stuck is to start moving.

Physical movement gets the brain moving, and soon, I can sort through the raw, undefined feeling of frustration and turn it into action items for making a breakthrough.

I’ll walk for an hour and often begin jotting down thoughts on my phone.

Write -

This is where the writing comes in.

As momentum builds for how to fix my frustration, I will word vomit into my iPhone notes app.

I don’t worry about format or even complete sentences.

I’m just trying to get a rough roadmap of my thoughts onto the page as they flow.

When my walk is complete, I’ll take the chicken scratch and sit down to write the ideas down in more detail.

Read -

Reading may seem like an odd next step in the process, but it helps to clear the mind.

Taking 15–20 minutes to decompress and let the mind wander is essential before you are ready to talk through your feelings.

In this time, your brain will naturally and subconsciously continue to process your feelings.

You may stumble upon an idea in a book that helps you sort through something you haven’t found the answer to, or you may find a different perspective.

Reading is an excellent reset from frustration.

Talk -

Now that you’ve taken the time to process your frustration, you are ready to face it head-on and talk about it.

While the emotion is fresh, try to work through it so it doesn’t get left behind and linger.

The challenge with talking about a fresh frustration is that your thoughts can be messy.

That is why I recommend a walk, a writing session, and reading before you open your mouth.

At this point, your frustration will still be new enough to speak about with full authority and no revisionist history, but you will also have cooled down enough to speak from a calm and thoughtful perspective.

To Recap -

The “Walk/Write/Read/Talk” framework is a great equalizer to the power of frustration.

It combats the overwhelming nature it brings and allows you to physically and emotionally move through your feelings to find a solution.

The music business is full of moments that will kick your ass.

The “Walk/Write/Read/Talk” framework will help you kick the music business’s ass back.

It’s imperative to your artist development to keep tools in your belt that will help you keep going.

The “Walk/Write/Read/Talk” framework is one of them.

See you next Sunday,



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