When you’re a Writer, you know with your entire being that your story has to be told. All writers hope that there will be someone who listens, but that’s a story for another time. writing a story can take days, weeks, months, and even years. Stories like flash fiction, poems, and other similar stories may take just days to write. Novels, however, which have upwards of 80,000 words, can take years to complete.

Writing can be difficult and since you are your own boss it can be extremely difficult to stay on task. Facebook and other social media platforms draw your attention away from your writing.

When you have a bad day outside of your writing it can infect your ability to write. There are many ways you can make writing easier, but many of them take some practice. Using an outline for your story can improve your ability to stay on task.

Types of outlines

There are many different types of outlines and it is up to the individual to decide which one works best for them. The standard bullet point outline, which breaks your story up into multiple little pieces, is my go-to, as it allows me to put more detail into the outline. A plot diagram is useful for deciding the big events that happen in the story which lead to the climax and resolution. A bubble diagram is a more unstructured way of getting all your thoughts on paper.

Some people use timeline graphs that help keep them on a straight road from the beginning to the end of their story.

How they help

Writer's block is something that everybody knows about, but it’s hard to understand exactly how it works. Staring at a screen or a notebook for long periods of time without being able to figure out what comes next can be disheartening, but it’s not the end of the world – even though it might feel like it.

This is where outlines can help you. You already know where the story needs to go. If you’re stuck with your current work, you can read through the outline again and wiggle your way out of the rut.

If that does not work, there’s still good news. You can skip to the next scene and come back to your problem area when the moment moves you.

The good news is that, as a writer, you may have plenty of time to get your story written. If you're on a tight schedule, or if your manager is knocking down your door, you might want to power through your writer's block. It's not as easy as it sounds, but you can write the basic information, and, hopefully, your enthusiasm for your story will come rushing back to you.