I have many skills and talents, but finding my way without clear directions is not one of them. That’s why in my Utopian world, everyone would be born with a GPS chip implanted in their brains.
Yet, like a crazy woman, I tried to write my first book without any kind of outline. Not only that, but I didn’t have a clear idea of who I was writing for. It was like driving blindfolded on a winding road – not a good idea, unless you’re into living dangerously. That approach to writing is called “pantsing”, and it means flying by the seat of your pants as a writer. Starting off without a plan, or even a destination.
Authors always end up somewhere when they “pants”. In my case, I ended up swamped by 50,000 words of garbage. It was a waste of time and energy, two precious commodities. I don’t have much of either to spare.
So, what’s the alternative to pantsing? Outlining, my friends. Outlining involves creating a plan for your writing. In non-fiction, this means planning what you want to say in each chapter. This approach means you have a clear idea of where your book is headed before you start writing chapter by chapter. It helps you avoid getting lost or stuck which is so easy with pantsing.
It wasn’t until I’d tried pantsing that I realised I was a planner. I love breaking down massive tasks (writing a book) into bite-sized pieces (outlines for each chapter) for two great reasons.
- Outlines give you a sense of accomplishment. Each plan is a step on the journey to brilliant book.
- Outlines are the shortest path from A to B. I love writing, but I don’t want to spend any more time than I must on any work task. Why? Because I love riding my e-bike too and seeing friends and binging TV or reading other people’s books!
My book writing program, Brain to Book in 90 Days, is for all you planners out there. People who don’t like wasting time and energy, who enjoy taking the shortest route from A to B. I am not saying one is better than the other (well, yes I am, but that is because I am a planner). I do, however, work with a lot of people who have arrived at destination zero using the pantsing approach.
Oh, and by the way, planning is fun. It’s not plodding, it’s not grinding. It’s planning. Like planning a trip to your favourite holiday destination.
Book a call with me and let’s get your book started.