Outline, outline, outline.
Now isn’t that ugly? If you don’t shudder, hesitate, cringe, or have any reservation about an outline, you might have a strong Type A personality and need a little free time. [grin]
I polled people on Facebook, asking what thoughts they had about the word outline. Only one person “liked” the post. The rest, 30 of them, provided a mixture of responses. Not one was laced with constructive flavor, and none were indicative of the creative writing process.
That’s the stigma of an outline.
Here are some descriptions that I can almost categorize as positive:
“Getting organized (something we all need to do) in preparation for a project or task!”
“Order was the first word that came to mind.”
“An outline is an abbreviated picture of the parts of your paper or project and the order in which they will come. You can think of it as a road map of your journey toward making a final product.”
“Tedious writing and thinking to organize a standard operating procedure.”
Now the neutral and wacky:
“Outline of a murdered body on any crime show on TV.”
“Outline of a face reflecting from a bad or good hair style.”
“It makes me think that I need to take a nap.”
And, the winning category—negative thoughts:
“School and nausea.”
“I haven’t found outlines to be very helpful. Hopefully, that doesn’t mean that I’m a bad writer.”
“High school English class: shudders.”
“Dread. English papers. Ditching school.”
“Fear of filling in the outline. How many pages, how deep the thoughts must be, and when it is due.”
“A waste of time.”
“Roman numerals I. a, 1, 2, 3 b. 1, 2, 3. II. a. 1, 2, 3. Etc, etc, etc.
The winner for most painful is: “Slamming my foot in a door.” (ouch)
I’m one of the negative bunch whose fear of outlines started as soon as I could hold a pencil. My love for writing was pelted by the rigid numbering system staring up from a stark, white sheet of paper.
But as the statements above note, an outline is a great tool, even though one often feared.
For years, I studied the main types of outlines, made big plans to create one for each of my writing projects, and still, I failed to make it work. That’s when I remembered a technique I taught at a home school group meeting to organize recipes. It works for outlines; magnificently. Now, I love my outlines.
Join me at the 2012 Northwest Christian Renewal Conference to discover how you can use this innovative system for your own writing.
**When you leave a comment before May 16th on Cindy’s post, your name will automatically be entered in the contest for a pair of free tickets (a $20 total value) to hear Marshal Younger on Friday evening. Great gift for friends or family! Winner will be announced on this blog Wednesday, May 16th.
Click here to read more about Marshal Younger‘s 7:00 – 9:00 Q & A, book signing and gourmet dessert evening.
Cindy will be teaching ““Learning to Love Your Book or Article Outline” at NWCA’s Renewal Conference on May 18th-19th. Click here for details.
Cindy Valenti-Scinto is a native New Yorker living in Spokane, Washington with her husband, John, and their son. Her love for the Lord and strong faith—coupled with the toughness learned from growing up in a large Italian family—has carried her through a remarkable series of life threatening health issues that continue to plague her yet today.
Cindy’s books, A Heart like Mine, and A Heart like Yours, are touching the hearts of many as they find hope and encouragement in her story. Contact Cindy at http://www.cindyscinto.com. Offering Hope Through A New Heart