Writing to a Deadline Part 5: “I Love this stinking outline”

If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out my previous “Writing to a Deadline” posts or this won’t make sense.

Wow… one thing that the outline “in my head” wanted me to write just wouldn’t work.  Yikes, would I have wasted a lot of time.  The whole scene would have been lost in editing.

And I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t outline first.

Yes, I’m a pantser, and I cringe every time I read over this outline.  But it is helping me to figure out how one scene will flow into the next.  I stare at the outline every day and make changes to the story before I’ve even written it.  It’s a very strange place for me.

Why aren’t you writing yet?  Deadline, Jen, remember?  What are you doing?

I do most of my writing in the car driving back and forth to work.  Okay, stop gasping… I do it in my head.  I have a pretty good idea of where key scenes in my outline are going.  My question now is whether or not I will be able to write this story in the “10,000 words or under” parameter.  Being concise was never my forte.

I am now four weeks in.  Yes, everyone else is a month ahead of me.  Some of them may have even submitted.  The publisher may have already picked a few that they may include in the anthology.

Maybe.  I have a little cheat card up my sleeve, though.  I am going away to a writers retreat over a weekend.  Eight writers closing themselves in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with no internet, and no ambition other than word count.

My challenge to myself is to be completely prepared going in.

Ready, set— go.  Write, Edit, Polish, Complete.

When I get home, send it out to Beta readers.


One last read from whomever I can convince to put up with me


Cutting it close?  Well, honestly, yes.

Today I actually start writing to my outline.  New ground for me.  Let’s see how this pantser does.

Stick to the outline, Jen.  Stick to the outline.

Resist the urge to explode something.  You can do this.


12 responses to “Writing to a Deadline Part 5: “I Love this stinking outline”

  1. your retreat sounds fantastic – hope you get lots done (and that the outline helps!)

  2. My longest work is outlined. My shorts and my starts (the ones I won’t finish) are not. Pantsing has its place and is my default style, but I love the clarity and support the structure gives me. I used to hate outlining and revising but have learned to love them. I must be growing up.

  3. enjoy that retreat!

  4. My outlines are very loose. I write a couple of sentences per chapter. I hated doing outlines in school for research papers. I would do them after I completed the project. I know….I know.

  5. I was a pantser. Now I’m a devoted outliner. It’s so reassuring to have all the problems sorted out in advance. Have fun at your retreat!

  6. God I need one of those writers conferences so bad! >.<

  7. I’m a pantser, too. I’ve tried writing to an outline. It didn’t work. Maybe I should try again. Great post.

  8. No internet? lol…Sorry, just cant get past that part. 😛

  9. Love your cheat plan…:) You can do it:)