Full post published at Amanda Headlee: It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn
Outlining. It was the one thing that always annoyed me about writing. I absolutely hated it. I remember the long ago days when I was studying to be a Marine Biologist, each every research paper that I wrote had to have scientific outline. Each outline followed the same mundane rules of proper format, proper heading, and et cetera. In the classes where the professor never checked the outline before the paper was handed in, the outline would be written after my research paper was complete so as to use the final paper as the defining guide. For the classes where the outline was mandatory to hand before the paper was due, I would find myself in a place of pure and utter hell where I would languish long nights away with my head in my hands sobbing about how to structure some asinine outline.
Outlines annoyed me. I found them tedious and mundane. As a professional in Quality Assurance and Regulatory Control, you would think I would revel in the worlds of organized outlines… but you are dead wrong.
I found them completely pointless and detractors from the completion of the finished product. I never saw the benefit of them. So when I turned to creative writing, I nixed them. Outlining was one and only “brainstorming” tool that I never utilized with short story writing. I brainstormed by drawing diagrams, write down a couple notes, and then start banging at the keys, allowing the story just to flow on the paper.
The days of outlining were dead, and since graduating college I never wrote another one… until last night.