I gave that outline a try. Turns out, very helpful. It gave me the opportunity to see what I wanted each chapter to be, how I wanted each one to push the story. The one downside is that you can’t go into too much detail without just writing the damn chapter. It definitely is great in helping the planning of the novel because you know what you’re supposed to be writing next which is the worst of the battle.

It helps eliminate that writer’s block that everyone bitches about. I think as long as you keep punching the keys, something will come out. That writer’s block is just the waiting period until something useful comes out. It’ll come out eventually but you need to keep punching. The outline tells you what’s coming next and what you’re supposed to write in generalities. The little details within the chapters are still left up to however you want to write them. It provides structure but enough freedom that your story could change with the day.

I remember researching different routines of various famous writers. Hemingway, Stein, and others all had routines they used to squeeze the most out of their writing. Hemingway would write in the early hours of the morning before other people were awake so he could focus on his work without distractions. Maya Angelou would rent out a hotel room she never slept in but only used it for writing.

When I wrote my first novel, I had a routine that was similar to Hemingway’s in that I wrote in the mornings but when I first got to work at an office. I would write a minimum of 500 words, once again similar to Hemingway’s routine, and wouldn’t stop until I reached it. If I hit it early and felt I could, I would continue. If not, I would stop at 500. I did that until the end of the first draft. It made me constantly work on the story steadily and gave an attainable daily goal that wasn’t too steep or overwhelming.

I think many people who want to write set too heavy of burdens upon themselves. They expect to write a thousand words a day and that can’t keep up. Most have trouble enough with writing just ten words a day. Keep an attainable goal that you can actually reach. If writing is important to you, you’ll make time to do it. Hopefully, this outlining that I’ve started will enable me to get more out of what I write each day.

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