The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Effect

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Image provided by
Robert Banh @

Again, I’ve missed writing a post during the weekend. Admittedly, some of the reason is due to my reluctance to write the rest of It Was My Black Cloud. Still, there is another reason; I’m at a place in my writing that’s become troublesome. It’s sticky and gooey. It’s reminds me of picking up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while standing out in the hot summer sun. The creamy gunk seeps out from beyond the bread adhering to anything it touches. The more you try to be clean and neat, the worse it gets.

My writing project is trying to stall on me, but I’m not at any point where I’m willing to let that happen. I’m just at that place in the story where the main character is beginning the upward spiral of the main conflict.

I find myself forgetting little details that I’ve already written. I’m having to go back to find them to refresh my memory, things like: what town is that building is in, the name of the daughter of the best friend, and if it’s one day or two days after what happened last. I do have an outline, although it isn’t the typical kind. I’m outlining as I write because I have short-term memory loss. It’s making it easier to find those specifics I’ve untimely repressed.

The style I’ve chosen for my first draft is bugging me. I know this is ridiculous. What difference should it make? It’s my first draft and there will be many more after it. I know I should be concentration on getting my story down. Somehow I need to let go of this notion of absolutely everything has to be perfect. There will be a time when this line of thinking is appropriate, but that’s far down the road from where I am now.

Because my story is a fiction about real life, I’ve been trying my best to keep it believable. This includes the number of characters. Usually there is more than three people in a person’s life, right? At least, this is what I’m assuming. So far I have thirteen characters, and I’ve labeled nine of them as being major ones. Any of them who have a direct link to the plot, no matter how small, are ones I’ve marked as important. Is this the way it’s done? I haven’t a clue, although I have a funny feeling this number is going to shrink some during the second draft.

One of my reasons for not posting isn’t something I consider my fault. In order for me to feel comfortable writing, I need to be alone. It must be quiet. This last week has been a big fog horn blasting. My husband has been home at hours when I’d normally be writing while he’s at work. He is not a quiet man, and he’s one of those who needs someone to listen to him. The poor man has issues with self-esteem. In addition to the spouse noise, the phone has been ringing more often– even when I’m alone–driving me loony. I know, turn off the ringer and let the answering machine pick it up. Sorry, but I start feeling too guilty or start worrying about if it’s an emergency I’m missing.

I’ve become a beta reader for an author friend. This has taken some time away from writing. I’ve taken it on because I’m learning as I read her stories. Her stories, as they come to me through email, have numerous spelling and grammar errors, but that isn’t the point of my job as a reader for her. I read to examine the flow, the subject, and the interest in her stories. I’m learning how the word sentences differently, different ways to introduce characters that I hadn’t thought of doing, plus other little tricks that may make my own story more enjoyable to read. I consider this an acceptable reason to postpone writing, at least in small doses.

My hurdles seem to have multiplied. I’m a stubborn soul so I’ll persevere. It’s a good thing I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.


11 thoughts on “The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Effect

  1. Glynnis I sympathise with your problems writing. I’m struggling a little at the moment also. Too many characters in a book annoy me as I struggle to remember whos who. There is a saying that if a character doesn’t further the plot they should be axed and I tend to agree with that. Don’t feel guilty reading. It’s an essential to writing and as you say you are learning. I always find reading out loud or having someone read it out loud really lets you know if it works. Cheers Irene


    1. Glynis Jolly

      Well said, Irene. Right now I have one character who I may destroy. Although relevant to the sub plot to a small extent, I’m seriously thinking about getting rid of that too so I wouldn’t even need the character.

      I figure I’ll always be learning because, although I may like what I’ve written, it can always be improved.


        1. Glynis Jolly

          I know there’s a possibility that I’ll have to let this story go. My nature is usually to be impatient, yet I find myself still trying again and again with this story. I think I have figured out that I shouldn’t have flashbacks for this one. This means a little rewriting but mostly just moving scenes to different locations in the story. With this said however, if this doesn’t work either, I’m shelfing it and moving on. 🙂


    1. Glynis Jolly

      I took my small break last weekend. It was fitting seeing that it was a holiday weekend anyway. I’m back to my schedule of writing from 6pm to 8pm. 😀


  2. Glynis, totally understandable. I can’t write well with distractions around me either. And we all need a breather now and then.
    I have your same memory problem with little details about earlier writing. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.


    1. Glynis Jolly

      I’m finding out that there are a number of people who have problems with memory. For so long, I’ve been around people who have memories like elephants so I felt a little inferior. I’m beginning to feel like one of the crowd. 😀


  3. Massive challenge–writing. Loveliest way to make the massive challenge easier? Read, read, read.
    It’s all part of the process, and the process gets easier with effort-full practice.
    Keep pluggin’ away, Glynis. You can do this. Just remember, if you’re going to eat an elephant, take it one bite at a time.


    1. Glynis Jolly

      Shelley, I seemed to be hooked on writing. No matter how many other things I have to do during the course of a day, I need my fix of putting words on paper or on a screen. The only way I can get a decent night’s sleep is to read for an hour or more before closing my eyes. I do believe I’m an addict. 😀

      Thanks for the pep talk. 😉


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