Why I Don’t Outline My Stories

Some people like to outline their stories, others write their story with reckless abandon (The pantsers!), and a few prefer a mixture of the two. I’m not here to tell you which method is the best, because creativity is subjective. You should always stick to what works best for you. Aside from my very first novel, I’ve written every story without outlining it. I’m about to tell you why I don’t like to use outlines!

They Are Constraining. This is just my opinion. For someone like me, an outline feels overly managerial. It doesn’t factor in the twists and turns that can happen as you write. I don’t see the point in making a plan I’ll stray from anyway. Sometimes the characters change or the plot shifts without you knowing beforehand. To me, that’s the magic of writing!

They Take Time. Outlining takes time away from actually writing. If I think too much about a story idea, the inspiration fades. It’s best for me to get on with it and not pre-plan everything about the story. Creating a plan or a schedule works for certain things in life, but I don’t think it belongs in creativity.

They Don’t Always Make You More Productive. I’ve completed most of my books within a few months and I like how they’ve turned out. If you have a vision for how you want your story to turn out and you commit to it, you’ll get a lot of productive writing done. I have several books published now, so it clearly works for me.

They Won’t Save A Lack Of Inspiration. Outlines allow writers to plan out each chapter. Some people even create amazing character sketches. At the end of the day, though, if you’re not inspired to write or your story starts to lose steam, an outline won’t save you (There’s other things you can do to rekindle that inspiration for your story!).

They Add Clutter To The Writing Process. I’m a big picture person and a minimalist, so I prefer to keep things simple. Anything that adds bulk or clutter to my creative process is to be avoided. I think outlining complicates things more. Writing from the heart is simpler and I like it that way.

They’re Not Needed To Write A Great Book. Some successful authors, including Stephen King and Margaret Atwood, are pantsters! So, if you’re not an outliner you’re in good company. 🙂

I mentioned earlier that there’s things you can do to help your story if you’ve run out of inspiration. You can read my blog post on how to help this here !

Are they any pantsters reading this? Let me know what you thought about this post in the comments below. ❤

(Photo by Olga from Pexels)


  1. I’m at least a semi pantster… You make some good pints here. I need to read you post on what I can do to avoid the writing slump 🙂

  2. I don’t like to outline either! Glad that I’m not the only one. As you mentioned, I always founded outlining to be too time consuming and they aren’t very definite.. outlines do change

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