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Outlining or Outpouring: What Is the Best Way to Write?

For years I felt that writing from an outline hindered writing from the heart. How could I pour my heart out if I had to be regulated by an outline?

Then I discovered a healthy balance. Outlines set the framework for our books and give us a boundary line—what to write about and what not to. Within that framework, we can pour out the words that are bubbling up within. An outline helps us to bubble on topic.

So when you sit down to write a book, consider using an outline to help you stay on topic. The outline may change as you write your chapters, but at least you’ll know where you’re headed. And remember—you don’t have to be dogmatic about filling in the outline completely before you start writing.

For example, decide what principles you want to write about in your book, and make each of those a chapter heading. (You can come up with just the right title later.)  Then come up with three supporting points for each chapter’s subject. Under each supporting point, think of an illustration, a story, or a passage of Scripture that reinforces that point and supports the chapter’s theme.

If you do this for each chapter, you will create an outline that acts like the track of a train. You may be tempted to jump the rails, but if you follow your outline, the reader will be able to follow your train of thought. You will lead them to understand your take away and give them the chance to implement it in their lives.

Help readers follow your train of thought, and let an outline be your track. #writing #writers Click To Tweet

So it is possible to use the guiding help of an outline and to write from the outpouring of heartfelt inspiration. How does it work for you? Do you make an outline and then write? Or do you write and then try to fit your paragraphs into an outline? I’d love to know in the comments below, and happy writing!

I used to think writing from an outline hindered writing from the heart, but does it? #writing… Click To Tweet


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