Outlining vs. Freewriting

writing2If you’re looking for the best approach to writing, the bad news is that there are no objective answers. The only advice that’s pretty much universal is to read a lot and to write a lot, and even there you’ll find writers who aren’t bad at writing news stories and blog posts, but who haven’t picked up a book in years. So any marketers, entrepreneurs and bloggers for hire out there trying to determine whether you should outline a piece or just put one word in front of another until you have a whole article, we can’t tell you which method works best, but, we may be able to help you figure out which way works best for you with a simple list of pros and cons:

Outlining: Pros

  • You won’t get stuck. You’ll never come to the end of a paragraph and have no idea how to begin the next one, because you’ll have it written down in the outline.
  • It can save a lot of time. The longer a project happens to be, the more you’ll appreciate having an outline to work off of.
  • We all outline, to be honest. When freewriting, you do have something of an outline, you just keep it in your head. Writing it down just helps you to stay a little more organized.

Outlining: Cons

  • It’s extra labor. An outline for a one page blog post can come out to half a page. That can slow you down as much as it helps you.
  • It can be restrictive. If you enjoy writing on instinct, you may find an outline difficult to stick to.

Freewriting: Pros

  • You don’t lose any momentum. When you sit down and want to jump right into writing, freewriting means you don’t have to stop and chart it out before you can get started.
  • It’s fast. Outlining a one-page piece may only take a couple minutes, but that’s a couple minutes you’re not spending writing.

Freewriting: Cons

  • It’s easy to write yourself into a corner. It’s a little like taking a road trip without a map. You might discover all sorts of new sights, but you could also wind up wasting fuel on backtracking and dead ends.
  • It takes practice. If you’re new to writing, it can be difficult getting to the point where you can write without an outline and still get your points across.

It’s up to you how you want to approach writing (it’s no wonder some people in marketing just hire experts to handle that part for them). Whether you want to outline or freewrite or flip through the dictionary selecting words at random. The method is only a way to get the results that you’re after.

Writer Bio: Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in rural New Mexico with his dog, Sir Kay, and his wife.


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