To Outline or Not

Many writers debate whether or not to outline before drafting a new story or article.   Some believe that an outline robs their work of spontaneity.  Others feel that without an outline, they wander hither and yon with no direction.

I tend to outline fiction.  For a picture book, this can take the form of post-it notes on a storyboard.  For a novel, this may mean just a few sentences on each chapter. 

Because my nonfiction is often either history or a how-to, the organization is obvious.  Chronology or the order of the process itself. 

Does working with an outline limit the development of my story idea?  Not yet.  It may take me a while to realize a change needs to be made, but I make changes to my outlines all the time.  Sometimes I change the text without changing the outline because I only needed the outline to put my thoughts in order and never refer back to it. 

Is this how other writers work?  I don’t know, but I do know that this is what works for me.

–SueBE