Frustration to Creation in Three Steps

Snapshot 10:12:12 7:08 AM

My wife and I were listening that “not-gonna-write-you-a-love-song” catchy tune the other day on the radio.

You know it right?

If not, here it is…

Wanting to know the song’s meaning, I did a little digging about why and how Sara Bareilles came up with they lyrics to “Love Song.” Here’s what she said:

“[referring to her music label] They had encouraged me to keep writing, and I just wasn’t having any luck, and I was turning in the beginnings of ideas and snippets of moments of a song, and I was just getting a really sort of blasé reaction to everything. I started to get really insecure about it, and then I got really pissed off at myself for caring what anybody thought…. I went to a rehearsal space one day. I sat down and wrote something for me. And ‘Love Song’ basically wrote itself. It’s totally honest, and I’m very lucky the label liked it as well.”


Frustration to Creation

Isn’t it fascinating that Bareilles used that frustration of not getting it right to propel the creative process forward? She transformed her frustration to creation in a few basic steps.

1. She kept writing.

Don’t Give Up is my seventh commandment for creatives, and Sara didn’t give up. She keep working. No matter how frustrating.

2. She got pissed.

Frustration energy always goes somewhere. 

We just need to channel the energy frustration gives us to fuel our creativity rather than handicap us into believing we have nothing to create.

3. She created from her core.

The beautiful thing: because she created from her core. Although it may sound selfish, she wrote for herself. She wrote from a place of passion. That passion is what connected her creative work to other people and made “Love Song” a huge success.

Three simple steps to transforming frustration into creation!

Question: What about you? How do you use those grrrrrrr moments to move your creative process forward?


Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Andy Black

    I think of frustration as a road block. As long as I am frustrated I am not going to move forward. Now if I tie myself to a more pure emotion–love, hate, joy, anger, sadness, heartbreak–I am going to come up with a creative solution. When Bareilles’ frustration gave way to anger (one of those pure emotions) she was finally able to create. When you are frustrated you are more likely to say “What a bunch idiots!” (I’d probably use stronger words). When you get angry you are more likely to say something like, “Oh yeah? Well watch me prove you wrong!” That’s my take on it anyway….

    • That’s really good Andy… you’re thinking like an actor!

      “A more pure emotion…” I like how you dissected that.

      So the next post would be “moving from frustration to anger for the win.” 🙂