Writing Prompt #7: Start Outlining

You may be tempted to skip this step in the process. I encourage you not to. On the other hand, you may love outlines and lists. If that is the case, your challenge will be to stop outlining and start writing. Either way, read this post on different approaches to book outlines and then take it step by step:

1. Create an environment that is conducive to big-picture thinking about the book. For you, that might be going to the spot where you usually go to write. Or it might mean breaking your typical habits and finding a new spot to think and work—because creating a good outline often requires you to break away from your typical thinking about your subject matter.

2. Reread your notes on your target audience, your core message, and your promise to the reader. They should influence the structure and approach of your book’s content.

3. Choose an outlining approach that you think will work best for you and then dive in. If it doesn’t seem to be working, try a different approach.

4. Once you get a rough draft or even a high-level outline of a few pages completed, share it with people who can provide valid feedback, which means members of your audience or professional editors who have experience in your genre. Authors who are active bloggers sometimes share their working outlines with their online readers to gather feedback. Not a bad idea. Check out this request for feedback by author Matt Blumberg for an example.

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