5 Psychological Blocks that Stop Bloggers (and Writers) Going from Good to Great @OlgaNM7

Hi all:

I was checking through some blogs and found one that I felt spoke to me and I thought I’d share it with you to see if it resonates with you too. The original post was in Problogger and it’s a guest contribution by a psychologist, Dr Alice Boyes. You can read it here. Although the title of the post is: 5 Psychological Blocks that Stop Bloggers Going from Good to Great, I felt those apply to writers in general, and of course, many of us are also bloggers.

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To summarise, Dr Boyes mentions five blocks to developing a blogger’s (read writer’s) career:

  1. Imposter Syndrome. You aren’t good enough, you aren’t really a writer, how can you compare with others, who are you trying to fool…This blocks you as you don’t feel you should reach to others whom you view as true… (bloggers, writers, authors…), or you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself to the test. Her suggestions of solutions include looking at the evidence, realising that this is just a thought (a negative thought indeed), asking yourself what would you be doing if you were the real deal and doing that, and understanding and giving yourself self-compassion. On the note of self-compassion, one of the things I used to tell my patients who came up with very negative comments about themselves was: what would you tell a friend, or somebody you knew, who came and told you what you’re telling me? Would you really think they were no good at what they were doing or not as professional…or whatever the issue was? Sometimes we are so much harder on ourselves than we are on others.
  2. Avoidance Coping. When you’re avoiding doing the things that should be your first priority by doing other less important things. I think we can all relate to this. I’m not pointing any fingers other than at myself. She suggests as solutions having a very simple to do list, putting limits on other tasks and being mindful of them (she suggest an App you can check although I’ve seen many advertised), and keeping a balance (80/20 anybody?).
  3. All-or-nothing Thinking. Everything should be done and done to perfection. Therefore as that is impossible, we give up completely on what could be a good idea. Although she doesn’t call it that, I think her suggestion for dealing with this would be ‘embrace the middle ground’ or ‘compromise’. If a task seems overwhelming, try and compromise on something workable you can do or break it in little chunks and do them at your own pace. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in one day.
  4. Running your Willpower Back to Empty. In talking about blogging Dr Boyes suggests that due to the many things one could do to ensure success at blogging, people might end up running round in circles, exhausting themselves and forgetting to take into consideration the big picture (the reason why we started doing something in the first place). And also losing sight of the goal (the doing becomes the end in itself). That’s also the case in writing and promoting/marketing. The amount of information, suggestions and new ideas are mindboggling. You can end up feeling like a hamster running on the wheel. She suggests shorter (microbreaks) and longer breaks, including disconnecting completely from the computer and going away, as that will give you a new perspective (the same most writers recommend doing once you finish your manuscript).
  5. Unwillingness to Tolerate Knockbacks. It doesn’t matter how well you do something, there will be people who don’t like it, or who think that it could/should be done differently. Dr Boyes says it’s important to build a level of tolerance (not insensitivity) to it, particularly if you’re prone to ruminating and overthinking what you could have done wrong. (She here recommends her book, but as I haven’t read it I won’t, although if the post is an example of what she offers, it might be worth a look). There’s much written about negative reviews and I think most of us know that however objective or neutral they might be (and not all are) they tend to feel personal because our books are our creations. As possible solutions she suggests: Expecting a 50% success rate rather than 100% (I guess we could call it redefining success). Also accepting your sensitivity rather than fighting against it and she recommends quick mindfulness meditations to help the negative thoughts pass quickly (with links). I have been meditating for over a year now, and although I’m sure it’s not for everybody (and I was’t very convinced it was for me) I’d say it has helped me. lontree (1)

Thanks so much to Pro Blogger and Dr Bloye for her article and inspiration, thanks to you all for reading, and let me know if you think those apply to writing too. And any tricks to deal with these or other blocks are welcome!

Author: olganm

I am a language teacher, writer, bookworm, and collaborator at Sants 3 Ràdio (a local radio station in Barcelona, where I returned in 2018), who lived in the UK for 25 years and worked for many years as a forensic psychiatrist there. I also have a Ph.D. in American Literature and an MSc in Criminology. I started publishing my stories, in English and Spanish, in 2012 and now have over twenty books available in a variety of genres, a blog (in English and Spanish), and translate books for other authors (English-Spanish and vice versa). In 2020 obtained the CELTA certificate as a language teacher, and offer Spanish and English classes. Writers and readers both in English and Spanish are my friends, colleagues, and allies, and after living in the UK for over twenty-five years, have returned home, to Barcelona, Spain, searching for inspiration for my stories. I also love owls and try to keep fit following fitness YouTube videos. Do feel free to connect with me. Here are: My website/blog: http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

49 thoughts on “5 Psychological Blocks that Stop Bloggers (and Writers) Going from Good to Great @OlgaNM7”

  1. When I started blogging in about my third month I had a time when I wanted to give up. In my mind my blog pretty much sucked and so did anything I wrote. I guess I could have quit, and trust me there are still many pressures for me to quit all this blogging and writing stuff today.

    Back then I had a very good friend, who was very encouraging and just an amazing friend. I can’t really repeat what this person said to me but it amounted down to if I quit then this person and everybody else will loose out on something special because I have so much to offer.

    I’m a all or nothing type, so there I was – it was going to be all of me or quit. I’m still here, I’m loving blogging and writing – but I won’t lie making it work is very hard work indeed, since I’m never going to be happy with a mediocre. If I don’t think something i write is absolutely amazing then I won’t put it out there. I strive to have an excellent the best of me kind of blog.

    Pro-blogger is an excellent site for anyone who has a blog to follow. So many tips there. I was reading them before I started blogging, to figure out the how and the whats. Their book blogging your way to a six figure income has many tips that I apply in my blogging today and that I have now after a year of my own experience started writing about. I learn though experience, and much of what I blog and why i blog is a learning curve.

    I may strive for perfection, but I don’t expect myself to be perfect right now. I’m learning to be better at writing and blogging with each blog post I write.

    And yea, that putting stuff off and do other things – yes when something is overwhelming me that is what I do. Like with my book. Right now I still feel I need to acquire some more skills before I can start with it again. 🙂 But I’m working on those skills with each and every blog post…. 🙂 Thanks for an excellent article Oglanm. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I fell into blogging following another blogger and because somebody had suggested I do it, and to begin with there wasn’t much thought behind it, but I’ve learned a few things on the job (and the learning never ends, luckily). Support and finding people who spur you on makes a big difference indeed. Good luck with your blogging and your books!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And thanks for the recommendation. I always find Problogger useful but haven’t visited the blog as often as I should these days. I guess another one of those tasks that fall by the by…


  2. Olga, this is a great post — and I don’t just mean the original. Your insights are valuable. I really like what you said about embracing the middle ground. Shared on LinkedIn. Hugs! 🙂


    1. Thanks Teagan. I saw your share. There are many posts with advice but I thought this one was brief, to the point, and had some reasonable and doable advice. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this… I was smiling the entire time and letting go of my blocks.. Look, there they are, right there on the floor!


  4. Very interesting. #4 is a big one for me. The amount of information and advice out there can be overwhelming. I’ve found that if I sit back, do the best I can (whatever that looks like), and then let it go, I stay productive and sane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. That’s very true. I asked somebody to give me some advice when I just started publishing and she offered me such a long list of things I should be doing that I wanted to quite there and then…It’s all a learning process but realistically there’s a limit to how much we can do. Spreading ourselves too thinly can work against us.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Man, I am so doing number two, but not about the blog sphere. In the real life sphere. Ugh. Avoid, avoid, avoid….. sigh. Time to get to it….


  6. I love this post. Some useful tips to put into practise. I am very guilty of number 1. Thank you for sharing. I hope you will stop by my blog soon. Take care Rae.


  7. This is fantastic. Unfortunately, I most identify with #1: Imposter Syndrome. And, to some (HUGE) extent, #3. 😉 That’s a bit of a weird combination, I know. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks Sarah. We’re all weird in our own weird ways, otherwise the world (and blogs and books) would be terribly boring. Best of luck with your writing!


    1. I vary the length depending on my day but I try and dedicate some time to it every day. I wasn’t at all convinced when I started, but over time it has definitely made a difference. Thanks Hilary.


  8. Hello Olga, I had this post bookmarked and have finally managed to get over here to read it. Thank you very much for all you share here, I certainly see myself in so many of these scenarios when it comes to writing my book and blogging. I am always being told that I put far too much pressure on myself, but in my mind, if I do something, I want to give it my all.
    I am having to learn to cope with bite-sized chunks of writing time as it is impossible for me to give it the time I really want to. I have so many ideas racing around my head (I am writing a memoir, but also want to write more flash fiction, poetry and articles about my daughter’s struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome amongst other things), that I have this constant battle raging in my mind so that I have to be really, really disciplined and stick to the task in hand.
    I write from home and I’ve discovered that the many distractions coming from that are also my downfall…not least of all, my all-pervasive procrastination, ultimately thinking ‘if I can’t do it perfectly, then I won’t do it at all’. Huge psychological blocks I need to stop crashing into. I so much want to be able to leap over them so that at long last, I can run, joyfully, to the finish line 🙂
    Thank you so much for showing me that I’m not alone in this kind of thinking and that there are ways to beat it!


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