All the books I outlined didn’t get finished. I stopped outlining and started finishing things. It was an amazing discovery for me.
One of my series is getting complicated on me though, with overlapping time frames and the like, and I’ve had to create an Excel spreadsheet with dates down one side and book titles across the top and fill in the blanks. It feels weird but I can already feel how much of a help it’s going to be.
My outline ideas were so boring. My stories were boring. I can only have wild flights of fancy as I’m writing, it seems, and that’s what it takes for me to write interesting stories. Some people are creative while outlining (I assume) but I’m not. Every idea I got was just so bland and they made for bland books that bored me to death when I tried to write them.
And that’s why I don’t outline.
I do sometimes write a paragraph or so at the end of what I’m working on that is full of questions to myself about where I want to go next and this can sometimes help me stay focused. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but I’ll leave it there until I either reach that point or decide against it.