From Stuck to Success: Ten Reasons WHY You Get Stuck…and HOW to Turn It Around by Margaret A. Nystrom, M.A.T.

Today we welcome educator, writer and artist Margaret Aslanis-Nystrom as she shares with us ten reasons why you get stuck and how to turn it around! In your writing you can go from stuck to success! Enjoy!


Whatever it is you are stuck on, whether it is writing a novel or blog, cleaning the house, a dreaded task, or making a major change in your life, LISTEN to what you are telling yourself. What we think, feel, and do determines whether we start and successfully complete a project or stop ourselves with doubts and procrastination.

Here are ten reasons WHY you get stuck and HOW to turn it around:

1.     Feeling overwhelmed. How do you eat a whole elephant? ‘One bite at a time’, is the old punch line. It’s true! Break a project down into doable steps. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help motivate you to continue. What if a step, is overwhelming? Then break it into even smaller tasks. They don’t call them baby steps for nuthin’.

2.     Negative thinking creates feelings of incompetence. Self-doubt and negative thinking are just another word for fear. They kill dreams, goals, and projects, before we even start. Be aware of what you tell yourself as you approach a task. Don’t succumb to negative thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Yell ‘stop!’, internally if you have to, then replace it with positive and encouraging input. Call a buddy to help with positive support. Work through your doubts. Sometimes you have to fake it before you make it. Some people can fly on faith and others have to see it for themselves.

3.     Boredom. Quit playing Farmville, Angry Birds, or visiting FB or email. These are time-wasters. Schedule them in for another time. If you have an exciting goal/project, you won’t want to play with anything else, because this is YOUR game. Is your project not exciting? Be sure to find ways to make it fun, easier, or more enjoyable. Use music or create a friendly competition with friends to motivate you. Find ways to reward yourself, something to look forward to when you complete each step. Timers, to-do lists, and deadlines can be your friend. Take meaningful and useful short breaks that will energize you, not time-wasters.

4.     Lack of support. Find someone to help mentor, motivate, or challenge you as part of your ‘project team’. Doing something in isolation, can be the worst thing to do when tackling a difficult or large project, yet many people do that very thing. Don’t do it alone! Team up!

5.     Mental, emotional, and/or physical challenges. Professional organizations and support groups both online and offline can be instrumental in getting the help you need to accomplish your goals. Again, no need to struggle alone: when you feel isolated, everything seems harder.

6.     Lack of knowledge. With the Internet, ignorance is no excuse. Libraries are goldmines of information too. Librarians can help point you in the right direction with research, databases, etc. Invest in yourself by taking classes or workshops. Many are free online.

7.     Lack of tools or systems. Beg, borrow, barter, and/or buy from friends, family, etc. Be sure you also have the right tools for the job. If not, learn how to improvise. Ask experts. Learn how to work smarter, not harder. Having the right tools or systems in place, like planning and organization skills, are important in getting a job done or stopping time-wasters.

8.     Fear of failure or success. Being aware of your fears is the first step of overcoming them. See Steps 1 and 2 on how to stop your fear cold.

9.     Lack of commitment. This is about your emotional immersion, boredom, not understanding the task’s importance, or not having the right skill set/tools. Focus on what is important about your project. If you find it is not important to you, then re-evaluate the project or your attitude.

10.    Lack of foresight. Not understanding the full consequences of not completing a project is a great way to fail, so plan and research, before starting a project. Remember procrastination is a self-inflicted wound.

With knowledge comes power and freedom. Plan and organize your project well, get the tools you need to be successful, then slowly, but surely, complete each step one at a time and evaluate your progress as you go. Your baby steps will add up. Oceans are made of single drops. Add your drops to create your own ocean and complete your goals.

Let me know of your success or any problems that come up. You absolutely can do this!


Margaret A. Nystrom, M.A.T.

Feeling stuck or need help with procrastination? Margaret’s blog,, is a motivational content blog for writers. She is an author, educator, artist, guest radio speaker, and monthly guest blogger/columnist in N.C. She has taught for 38+ years and created over 25 blogs. She also writes articles and  psychological thrillers.

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1 Response

  1. Beth Barany says:

    Such wonderful tips, Margaret! Thanks for stopping by Writer’s Fun Zone this month. I especially like the one about turning your passion project into a game. I love doing this for myself and find it really helps keep the energy light and fun.

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