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To Outline or Not to Outline – It’s Your Preference

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

With every creator, the production process is different. Some painters can complete their vision in one sitting, but others paint then walk away for days or weeks and then repeat this process until it’s done. For music artists, some need to write down lyrics before entering the booth, while others freestyle depending on their mood and the beat that speaks to them.

This is the same for writers. Some of us need an outline that lets us know how one topic connects to the other in a particular order, and some of us need to dump it out of our brains and then piece it all together to make sense. There is no right or wrong way. It’s all about what fits your writing style. Don’t be shocked if it’s a little bit of both.



Let’s look at both options.

Outline

Pros

  • You have a blueprint ready for when it’s time to add all the words you desire.

  • When you get lost or forget a detail, head back to your outline for step by step guidance.

  • Can help you write faster.

Cons

  • Could drain your creative juices.

  • Your story may end up shorter than you want.

  • It’s an extra step before drafting.


Brain Dump

Pros

  • Let it flow with no limitations. All ideas are great ideas!

  • There is something magical about being out of the box and spontaneous that could give you multiple books at the same time.

  • You can start the story and adjust as you go. Sometimes you can create subplots and hone in on the main plot in ways you didn’t originally think of.

Cons

  • Confusion about where to take the story during the drafting phase could be a byproduct.

  • You may create plot holes or miss key details without a blueprint.

  • Too many unnecessary topics that don’t support your storyline. These could become distractions for the reader.


Whether you’re a planner or floater, you can move at a pace that fits your creative writing needs. Both can be organic in their own way. Stay open to flexing both muscles from time to time, and you will get through that first draft in no time.

Need a writing blueprint? Whether it’s pulling ideas out or lining them in an order that drives your writing, our H.E.R. Legacy content consultants can help get you started. Schedule your free consultation today.


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