To get any kind of writing done, I’ve trained myself to write at a moment’s notice. Got ten minutes? I’m writing. Because who knows when the next ten minute slot of time is going to show up?
Still, despite this crazy approach, I’m also a creature of habit. I don’t like writing at night—give me an early morning or afternoon anytime. I won’t edit as I go along. And I don’t outline.
But the “I don’t outline” part of my credo changed this summer when I wrote a proposal for a new series and was asked to give a full synopsis for the book.
A full synopsis? For something I hadn’t written yet? That sure sounded a lot like an outline to me.
I have to admit, y’all, that long synopsis was the dickens to write. Fifteen pages of pure torture. I just don’t ordinarily think that way. I do these little mini-outlines for each day’s work so that I know what my writing plan for the day is. A day ahead is really as far as I go.
Funny thing, though—when I started writing the chapters for the proposal, the writing just flew. I’m a pretty fast writer anyway, but nothing compared to the speed with which the outlined chapters got written.
At least I know I can do a synopsis/outline now. And that there are some benefits to writing one. I’m not totally sold on outlining though… I’m freestyling my current WIP.
But if I run into a problem with that WIP? I think I’ll just outline from that point on. It’s definitely good for working out the snarls in a manuscript.
How about you? Have you ever switched from not outlining to outlining? Or made any other major shakeup to your writing routine? How did it go?