footpathNow that you’ve got your PostIt notes or index cards arranged in a logical progression, like stepping stones leading down the path you want to take the reader, it’s time to put those ‘stepping stones into an outline.

An outline is basically arranging your ‘stepping stones’ in a linear fashion on a single document. It will be easier to use a digital document, like a Word file, to create your outline rather than trying to create it on a sheet of paper. Putting the ideas you’ve written on the PostIt notes or index cards into a linear format on a single document will help you to see if the logical progression of ideas still holds up. There may be some additional rearranging to do once everything is laid out on a single page; it’s easier to move ideas around on a digital document.

Bullet Points – once you’ve got your ideas listed in order on the document you may want to add some bullet points to each idea to further develop it. This will help in the next step when it comes time to flesh out each idea. Your outline is also a good place to make brief notes; for example, if you need to research a certain subject or article you can add “research Amazon bestsellers” as a bullet point for a particular idea.

Click here to see my example outline; it shows my basic ideas, sub-ideas and notes, laid out in linear fashion, ready to begin creating Chapters. We’ll do that on my next post!

Technical Note: I used Scrivener to create and organize my index cards, and this week, to create the outline for our book that parallels this series, ‘How to Write a Book in 30 Days.’ The more I use Scrivener the more I love it. Any serious writer ought to at least consider Scrivener’s free trial.

If you’re having trouble with your outline or you’ve got questions or suggestions, please share them in the comment section below.


Click here for “How to write a book in 30 days” step 5: “Create chapters”