The Dilemma of Outlining vs. Just Writing

Writing a book is a huge endeavor. By the time you’re well into Chapter 3 or 4 it can be hard to hold all the threads of what’s transpired and what you’ve talked about in Chapter 1, especially if you’re writing your book over a stretch of time.

For a lot of writers, outlining is a natural part of their process. But for so many more, it’s a burden, something they can’t wrap their minds around because they don’t know where their book is going. This can be especially true for novelists and memoirists. It might be the case that your characters haven’t revealed their true purpose, or that you don’t exactly know what the climax of your book is going to be because you want or need to see how certain things unfold first.

With memoir you’re dealing with a whole lifetime of memories and experiences, and trying to figure out what belongs and what to sacrifice. This presents a similar dilemma where mapping out an entire book is concerned.

Your Outline is Alive!

And yet, outlining can be your savior. It can show you what’s possible, and it can always be changed. An outline should be treated as a living, breathing document that morphs as your book morphs and as your book reveals itself to you.

Mark Nepo says, “Miracle is a process, not an event.” Writing and completing a book is nothing short of a miracle, and therefore it’s a process.

And an outline can be your trusted friend on your journey—pointing the way and yet still malleable.

Join us  to learn more about outlining and how to use it to your advantage. We will discuss tips on structure and scheduling your writing too. Do you schedule your writing? Do you outline?

Brooke Warner is Executive Editor at Seal Press and a writing coach and publishing consultant with thirteen years’ experience in book publishing. She helps writers through the completion of their book proposals and manuscripts. She offers writing coaching and professional publishing consulting to a broad range of clients who are looking to build their author platforms, better understand the complicated world of publishing, and get published. Brooke works with novelists, memoirists, screenplay writers, poets, and artists.

Read more about Brooke and Warner Coaching at www.warnercoaching.com