As a young writer, I struggled with the concept of outlining. If you already have a strength and passion for writing, you may struggle with this, too. You feel that you need the purity of the creative process undisturbed. You tell yourself that truly creative thinking follows no form.
Of course, if you get anywhere in your writing career, you’ll soon realize that this is hogwash. Yeah, that’s right. I said hogwash.
Professional writing requires structure. And the longer the piece, the more structure you’ll require. The more detailed your structure, the less you have to fill in during the writing process. Outlining eliminates frustration and writer’s block while easing drafting and revision.
If you decide to write without outlining your concept first, you may be in for a huge headache. Outlining forces you to:
- Organize your thoughts in a fluid but visible way
- Make a simple-to-follow reference sheet
- Order thoughts in the sequence that makes the most sense
- Ensure you have enough content to deliver a complete message
- Get a high-level view of your piece and make sure you don’t forget anything
- Understand how to weave any themes into the narrative.
Before you sit down to write a piece, take five minutes to jot your thoughts down on a blank page. Put them in a logical order for your reader and craft stronger, more coherent pieces.