Why I Love Outlining My Novels

If you know me then you know that I enjoy the outlining process. I’m sure I’ve talked about it before, but I thought I’d do a post about why I love outlining my novels.

Why I Love Outlining My Novels | Outlines | novel writing | creative writing | blogging | RachelPoli.com

There are many different reasons why I love outlining my novels, but there’s one in particular that really makes me happy.

It keeps me organized.

Again, if you know me then you know that I’m a very organized person. I enjoy having a schedule or routine to follow. I enjoy cleaning and I love having a designated spot for everything. This goes for my writing as well.

I love outlining my novels because it keeps me organized – the novel itself and my thoughts. Outlining gives me a spot for a list of characters, locations, plot points, dialogue ideas, and everything in between.

My favorite part about outlining is that it helps me organize the general structure of the novel. Sometimes I summarize each chapter in a notebook, other times I use sticky-notes and index cards to plot the novel scene by scene, plot point by plot point.

There’s no right or wrong way to write a novel – we all work in our own way and at our own pace. For me, however, staying organized with your novel is key to completing that first draft, editing, and beyond. Staying organized in the beginning really makes things easier in the long run.

How do I stay organized?

I break my novels up into the stages of the creative writing process. I have a notebook for research and general notes plus a poster. (Or sometimes I just tape card stock together because who really wants to leave the house and go to the store?) Sometimes I’ll have an Excel sheet or Word document filled with bullet points and charts, but I’m old school. I like having pen and paper.

My first draft is written on the computer as if all the other drafts. I have an accordion folder to hold all the drafts as well as file folder to hold onto the current draft I’m on because I always hand edit.

I’ll admit, it doesn’t always look so pretty. I do have to organize and re-organize now and again. Still, it helps me and it looks nice inside the filing cabinet and on my shelves.

Long story short, outlining helps my novel itself stay organized. I mean, the outline is more like a guideline and changes a lot, but it still helps a lot.

Are you generally organized? Do you enjoy outlining your novels? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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10 thoughts on “Why I Love Outlining My Novels

  1. You are very organized. I just jot down my ideas on my phone as they come to me , usually during my morning walk and then use them while blogging.

    • That works. As long as you write down the ideas. I can’t tell you how many I’ve forgotten because “I’ll remember it later,” lol.

  2. I’m an outliner too. I don’t use a poster like you do, although I think it would be great to help keep a complicated timeline organized. I like to carry my outline around with me and read it over a few times before I get started writing. It gets me excited to begin and keeps up my motivation through the writing process (although I do hit a few”lows” from time to time).

    • That’s great! Yeah, I’ll admit you can’t really take a poster around everywhere with you. I have taken pictures of it though if I decide to write in a cafe or something. Then I can look something up if need be. I just can’t add to it until I get home.

Let me know your thoughts!

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