Some people have suggested that my writing muscles are in need of being exercised. Is this true?

Many times, when attempting writing, I find the task of writing down my main ideas to be challenging and I subsequently fail to create a simple outline.

Creating a simple outline seems difficult to me, how can I exercise my brain to be able to complete this?

  • 1
    Yes. Without reading the body of the post, I'd draw the conclusion that everyone who wants to write well needs to exercise their writing muscles - why shouldn't you? Mar 10 at 11:45

Most people need to exercise their writing muscles, but let's try to break this down a bit. You say you have a problem outlining, but you don't say what type of writing you are doing. Fiction and non-fiction are going to work a bit differently here, I think.

For non-fiction, you probably at least want chapter headings or some way to break down your subject into reasonably sized chunks. It does not have to be an outline.

For fiction, as @ceramicmrno0b said, you may want to go with more of a pantser style. You don't have to abandon an outline altogether, though. Just write down five words or phrases that give you a clue what you want to happen at different points in your book. Beginning, ending, and three events or scenes in the middle. Don't get hung up on what an outline should be.

Also, you seem to be equating the ability to write an outline with exercising your writing muscles. These things are not the same. Just write. Write anything. Make a story out of going to the grocery store (or a poem or whatever). The more you write, the more confidence you will get. Also, read a book on writing. More than one. You may find things that help or that give you insight. Good luck!


Before solving a problem, see if you can remove the problem -probably somebody at some point

I don't think you need to exercise this writing muscle, IF you can change the writing approach you take. You seem to be trying to plan and then write, something a lot of people do because they think it is necessary. It's not. Most of the time my only guide is 'have this guy, do something cool, happy ending', and sometimes I don't even have that.

I'd recommend moving from a plotter approach to a more pantser style. You probably don't know what either of those mean, so quick explanation before I continue; Plotters write out the plot points, then write based off of that to get what they eventually end up with. Pantsers on the other hand, don't plan at all and just go. Personally, I'm a pantser, and am planning to publish this year.

Doing this will let you write without having to worry about what comes next, because you'll decide that as it comes. Outlines become optional, and things just appear as you decide what works well.

Anyway, if you remove the need for an outline, you also remove the need to get better at doing it. Don't think that being a pantser is going to make the writing less good, I'm one and my writing is fine, and JK Rowling and Stephen King are also pantsers.

Good luck writing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.