Even though there are plenty of people out there that claim writer’s block is nothing but a myth, it sure doesn’t feel like that at times!
Have you ever been there? If you’ve been writing for even a small period of time I’m willing to bet you have.
Those days when getting words down onto the page feels as difficult as drawing blood from a stone. When you spend hours staring at the screen in frustration hoping for the blank page to magically fill itself.
But one of the worst things you can do is try to beat writer’s block by ignoring it or denying you’re struggling. Stubbornly trying to plow through it won’t work either.
Instead, it’s time to do something different.
Let’s say you want to write a full book, but you can’t get your creative juices flowing.
Why not focus on making a book outline instead?
A book outline allows you to go from a place of a blank page and desperation to one of structure and hope.
So how exactly do you go about making one?
Get your writing fires burning
There’s no use trying to start a book outline if you’re feeling low-energy and uninspired.
So the first thing to do is put yourself in a position where you’re feeling focused, creative, and ready to outline a brilliant book.
You might want to switch up the space you work in. If you don’t have a dedicated writing office, find the place that inspires you most. Every writer is different, so that could be a coffeeshop or just a room with a view.
If it’s been a whlle since you’ve written creatively, try a small creative prompt to get back in the zone.
Finally, if you’ve been stressed and unfocused, draw inspiration from quotes about writing to help you shift your mindset.
Once you manage to boost your internal state, you’re ready to move forward with the outlining process.
Choose your tools and method
So how exactly are you going to outline your book?
Some writers like to go old-school and use physical index cards or a whiteboard to envision the big picture of their book.
If you prefer, you can use a more modern approach. Some of the more advanced writing software includes outlining capabilities. Make sure your software has all the functionality you want.
Be thorough and do as much research as possible. But also avoid getting too weighed down with choosing apps and technology. They are just tools intended to do a job. Anything that gets you to a place of having a book outline and being free from writer’s block is more than good enough.
Trust in the process
After you decide how you’re going to create your outline, it’s time to move forward.
You want to consider the type of outline that is right for you. If you’re writing fiction, you should draw upon the concept of plot to make sure your outline results in a gripping experience likely to captivate your readers.
Help is at hand if you’re still feeling stuck at this stage. There’s no need to fly blind or feel frustrated. You can use an existing book outline template or combine a few different outlining methods into a bespoke approach.
The good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just trust in a proven process that has resulted in successful book outlines time and time again.
Let your imagination run riot
Book outlining shouldn’t seem like something dry and boring. If you feel that way about it, your work is likely to reflect your feelings and result in a subpar outline.
If you find yourself getting bored or feeling low energy during the process, take action and do something to regain your fire.
For example, if you haven’t chosen a title for your book yet, why not brainstorm as many as possible? Then take the extra step and picture how those titles would look on a finished book cover. How good will that feel? Hopefully picturing where your effort is leading will give you the motivation to continue.
If picturing your book title on a cover doesn’t quite do it, go even further. Have you heard of book trailers? Take the time to watch a few and then envision how one would look for the book you are outlining.
And if it’s still not working…
If you’ve tried everything and you still feel blocked and unable to work on your book outline, don’t force things.
Give yourself a break. Take a day off. Focus your mind on something else entirely.
After you’ve given yourself mental space and time, return to the process and try again.
Eventually, you will have a book outline that will help you move forward with confidence and clarity.