Writing an outline of the book before you start is a way to cut down on time wastage and to organize your thoughts in a coherent manner.
You also get an accurate insight into what you need to write, as well as in what order and to what depth. This will help you to write quicker and be more productive while writing.
As if this was not enough reason to convince you of making an outline first, the risk of heavy editing to remove any waffle or padding from the book will be removed because you will be focused on what you have to write before you even start writing.
You will also be relieved of the worst fear of every writer—writer’s block. When you are stuck in one heading, you can skip to the next heading that you have planned in your outline, and continue working on that.
So, what are the best ways to create an outline for your book? Here are some tips for you!
Sketch out all your ideas in rough
On a notepad or the trusty MS Word, sketch out your ideas.
All. Of. Them.
It doesn’t matter if it links to the other points or not. Just jot them all down. Empty out your head onto your document. You need to do this so that you will have all your ideas in one place. Once you do, you can then start working on it.
For the more creative ones out there, you can use post-it notes and your wall as your medium to hold all your ideas in. This idea works wonders as you can then simply and easily bunch the related ideas together later when you are arranging the outline.
Create an outline by arranging your ideas in a logical sequence
Now it’s time to work on your ideas to create the first draft of your precious outline. The ideas that you have jotted down will now help you since have to arrange it. Bunch all the related ideas in different sections. You don’t even need to start naming their headings yet. Just try to create a flow of how your book will continue.
At this point, you can even discard the ideas that do not seem to fit well to the book, or the points that are irrelevant. Once you are finished, you can start to see the flow of the book clearly.
Finalize your outline by adding the headings and estimate your word count per point
Now that you have a basic flow of your outline, it is high time that you polish it up. You can now add your headings. You can chunk down your ideas and create sub-headings in the outline, as well.
Try to understand how important a section is to the book. Mark each section according to its priority. The high priority topics should be then allotted a higher word count than the rest.
Assigning estimated word counts to each heading and subheading will make your life easier when you actually write because you will not get carried away in the process. It gives you a target to aim for and not exceed.