The Downside To Outlining Your Novel

When it comes to any stage of the creative writing process, there’s always some pros and cons to it. Not all writing is glamorous and it sounds more exciting than it really is at times. Outlining is a step some people skip and one that everyone does differently. So, here’s the downside to outlining your novel.

The Downside to Outlining Your Novel | Creative writing | outlining your novel | novel writing | blogging |

Before the First Draft

When I outline before the first draft, I feel a certain thrill for my novel. I’m excited, the ideas are brand new and fresh. I can’t wait to get to know my characters and explore a new world I’ve created.

If I get any new ideas, I have to write it down otherwise I’ll forget. Sometimes I write details that I believe the event might occur but other times I just write the basic idea down and call it day.

So, when the outline is over and it’s time to write the first draft, there’s one of two things that might happen:

1. I write the first draft without a problem.

Obviously, this is the best way to go. The outline guides me as it’s supposed to. Some ideas stay the same, some change. New characters are added and so on and so forth. This is the ideal way I’d love for all my novels to go.

But it doesn’t always happen that way.

2. The thrill is gone.

There have been times where I’ve outlined and then, when it comes time to write the first draft, I have no more motivation to write the story anymore.


Because I more or less already wrote it. Sometimes I write so many details into the outline, or I’ve worked on it for so long that the idea has been cooking for a while, that when I start the first draft I feel like I already wrote it.

This makes the process of writing the first draft slow. I wish that it was already written and I could just get started on the editing process. There’s a lot more detail and description that has to go into the first draft though.

I love outlining but there have been times where it’s been more work than I meant it to be. Sometimes, even if you outline all the time, it’s best not to outline and just wing the project. Everyone works differently but also I think every project needs to be tackled with its own unique approach.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you put yourself in a writing slump before? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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8 thoughts on “The Downside To Outlining Your Novel

  1. Sometimes having a mental plan can be just as useful. The best thing to do is do a spider diagram and then plan it in your head as you go along. When I was writing a TBA published novel I was always thinking ten moves ahead so I knew what was going to happen and that way I could eliminate or include anything that I thought would work, prior to writing it, but surprising yourself can also be just as fun. Just always know the end outcome even if you end up having to write alternate endings. Hence forth I always write an ending that isn’t directly connected to the story, but is just a good way of rounding things off.

    I hope that this makes a word of sense.

    • That does make sense. Sometimes I do that. I always have to have something written or else I’ll forget, but there have plenty of stories I’ve just written without much direction from the beginning. I’m glad you find what works for you.

  2. Too much outlining does take all the energy and thrill of discovery out of it for me. On the other hand I do tend to flounder, especially in the middle of things, if I have no plan of getting to the end point. I usually know the start (more or less), the end, and a couple of middle plot points, pulling it all together is the tricky part!

  3. I know what you mean about outlining and I don’t outline much because of that thrilling leaving. So now I leave myself in suspense too in the outline haha. Because I have the power to choose what happens next. haha

    • Lol, that’s true. No matter whether you outline or not you have the power to change it and do what you want.

Let me know your thoughts!

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