Before writing can begin, all of the ideas and source material must solidify into a coherent structure. The outlining and planning process is the bedrock of the book-to-come, and is quite possibly the most important aspect of writing.
This section will render my planning and outlining process transparent, allowing readers to see through the veil of development, learn from my mistakes, and offer new insights that arise organically from the process.
I start very loosely, collecting my notes and ideas from the Notebook stage. As a thesis begins to form in my unconscious, I start to organize my ideas in a rough flow. This becomes a table of contents, which gives me the categories for batching ideas from my notebook, from past work, and from source material. At this stage I will also add in conceptual frameworks to help the structure feel more organic.
During this process, I collect quotes and selections from source material (as is detailed in the Inspiration section) and form a palette of quotes, which I can then integrate into the outline.
The outline will still be buckets at this point. The final step will be re-structuring the logic of the outline to form a building, logical argument. This is the hardest yet most important part of the writing process, so I like to keep these steps separate. My process looks like this:
- Creative – gathering ideas and inspiration loosely into categories.
- Logical – polishing the structure of the outline into a logical argument.
- Creative – once the outline is done, I can let the creativity flow.