That Perfect PB&J

Writing your novel is unlike anything that you have done up to this point. You’ve got a great idea. You’ve outlined and planned it. Hopefully by this time you have even written a chapter or two. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself, until you realized exactly what you’ve done.

There is a certain hype. A motivation that is pumping through your veins as you begin to daydream your novel. You can see it glistening on the shelves. Immediately rising to a bestseller. You can hear the agents fighting over you, and the big publishers and their lucrative deals. But an interesting thought begins to cross your mind as well.

I have to write this thing.

And that is kind of a big deal because it’s the whole reason you got into this in the first place. I want to help. I want to give advice, and some is strictly based off my experience because that is all I know. I have spoken with other writers, though, and I can think we can agree that one of the hardest parts to writing a novel is actually writing the stinking thing.

Outlining and planning is like the honeymoon in a marriage. Then real life begins to hit, and all the sudden there are children and work. Bills and other various adulting activities that can sometimes drag you down. At its core, we write because we love writing.

But at that same core we sort of despise writing.

At some point I think it would be so cool to be able to just think a novel into completion. You know what I mean. Wouldn’t it be awesome to just think words onto the page? The editing and character development just does its own thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. I love seeing my story develop into something amazing. But if you are feeling doubtful or stressed about putting so many thousands of coherent words onto a page, it’s completely normal.

I would say writing the novel is probably step three. But let’s not kid ourselves, its actually like sub step A of step three, and that is what we are going to focus on here. Writing is like that perfect PB&J. You must have the right ratio down, so it tastes good, but is not overpowered by one ingredient. To start, its not going to be important how you make it, what is important is getting all the ingredients down from the cabinet and making sure you have everything.

That’s it.

If you start spreading peanut butter on the bread before you’re confident you have jelly, I fear you will not have a very good PB&J. To translate that into writing, your first step is to get words on paper. You don’t need a thesaurus. You don’t need an editor or illustrator. You don’t need a beta reader or critique partner. That first part is all you, and it can be hard.

You know better than anyone that you have a great story. But typing thousands of words down is not something that just happens. There is a certain amount of motivation mixed with creativity and enlightenment that all come together. Its like a perfect storm.

There is no specific amount of time associated with writing your story. Not one. You will see tons of people posting about the million words they wrote yesterday.


You are not going to write as much or as little as the next person because everyone’s circumstances are unique to them. There are times that I have written five thousand words in one day. There are times I have only written five. There are times I have written none. There are days and weeks that I have gone without writing because of obligations and it makes me feel absolutely terrible.

We put ourselves on these deadlines and feel compelled to meet them. Listen, nobody is going to steal a story from your mind, so what is the rush? Let it come to you in your own time. The first thing you have to do is get the story down on paper. Get that amazing thought out of your head and down on paper. If that takes a week or seven years, it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that you’re writing.