Writing outside of the outline

I hate creating and writing from outlines.

There, I’ve written it down. I’ve posted this for the whole world to see. Maybe now people will stop telling me to create an outline for projects.

Even in school, I hated it when the teacher required an outline for a writing assigment. The outline was so final, to my way of thinking, and left no room to stretch. Chances were, I would change my mind in the middle of the assignment, and then have to go back and change the outline.

That would make me think twice about my idea, though, because isn’t the outline supposed to have everything already in it? See, I’m the kind of person who thinks of the best ideas when I’m in the middle of a project, not at the beginning. It seemed like tedious, needless work to me.

Some people need an outline. I get that. Some people even like them! (Unfathomable to me.) It’s not a bad idea to have an idea from the start where your story is supposed to go.

To me, though, writing down more than a couple sentences about the gist of the story is a waste of time that you could have spent starting your project. That’s usually what my journal that I keep on the side of my bed is for: I wake up from a dream, or have a thought before I go to sleep at night, and I write those down in my journal. I might flesh them out a little later when I go back to them, especially when I don’t have time for writing right at that moment, but for the most part, I do not worry about creating something like an outline.

I’m all for being organized, and please don’t think that I am prejudiced against people that create them for their projects. They’re just not for me.

What do you think about outlines? Helpful or not helpful?

Similar posts:

“Guidelines not outlines” from Moody Blog.

I'm a lover of writing and books. I graduated from South Dakota State with a master's degree in communications in 2011, the same year I was first published. I'm a wife and mom, and I work in content and digital marketing in South Dakota.

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Posted in Writing tips
One comment on “Writing outside of the outline
  1. Arlee Bird says:

    I don’t usually outline. I tend to keep the structure in my head and change things if I need to along the way. I guess maybe in a sense I have a mental outline prepared, but I just don’t feel the need to write it down. Too much structure can hinder creative flow of ideas. At least that’s the way I see it.

    Tossing It Out

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