My Big Fat Opinion: You Must Create an Outline

create an outline image of lightbulb with ideas coming off it

Whenever I meet with a new client, whether they have anything written or not, I ask them for an outline. For many people, the thought of creating an outline brings them back to the horror of high school English class. They experience either the perfectionist desire to get it right or the rebelliousness to state they don’t do outlines.

There are several quotes that I think relate to why an outline is important. And yes, while some relate to goal setting, they are still relevant:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll

“If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” – Yogi Berra

“Knowing where you are going is the first step to getting there.” – Ken Blanchard

(all quotes taken from

To me, writing a book (or even long content) without an outline is a surefire way to get lost, be less effective, and even possibly lose your reader. For writers who aren’t very experienced, an outline should be used for anything longer than a paragraph that takes the reader to a desired end point.

The Content of an Outline

For me, I don’t ask my clients to follow one specific form. Instead, I tell them to do what works best for them. After all, this isn’t English class – there is no exam, no grade to earn, no red ink. I want my clients to create an outline simply for the sake of:

  • Knowing the key points to make
  • Keeping us on track for content creation/writing
  • Inspiration when stuck about what to write, and
  • Knowing what we want the reader to walk away with

To accomplish this, the outline can look like:

  • Traditional structure such as an A, B, C; 1, 2, 3; a, b, c, etc. format
  • Mind mapping
  • A synopsis in paragraph or multi-paragraph form

For More Resources

An outline, in my opinion, is one of the first steps in writing your book. For more writing resources, check out my home page at

There you can access:

  • Your FREE Essential Checklist for First Time Authors
  • Your FREE 30-page e-book titled, “How to Write a Book”, and
  • Your FREE course: “What to Write in Your Memoir”

As always, if I can help you further, Contact Me for a free 30-minute consultation.

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