First Time Writer: My Outline is Horrible

Beating myself up at the beginning of a project is typical. I stayed up late the other night working to finish the outline for my first novel. It’s a story I have kept in my head for well over a year. Tweaks in small and big portions have already been plaguing me. There are some strong areas that feel amazing and I can’t wait to lay the chapters down. Then there are some disgusting areas that make me want to crawl in a hole and bury myself. No one will read this! These words echo in my head.

It is typical for me to look for others for approval. I am trying to turn the corner and be my own cheerleader but it’s exhausting. I don’t give up because something is hard, though I do give up if something drives fear into me. That’s how I avoid anxiety and stress triggers. Avoidance. I know this is unhealthy and I am working on this.

“That’s interesting.” A comment that is so neutral it confuses me. A comment I have gotten from people I love and look to for encouragement. Sometimes I think a comment that cuts deep would allow a better healing process than no comment at all.

I resolve to recognize that this is my first draft and I am willing to have a second and a third, and a forth, and so on and so on until it’s good. Someone will like it. One person. When one person likes it that will mean I am a success. Even if that one person is me.

My response to the Daily Prompt: Typical 


  1. You’re doing fine. Outlines actually aren’t done until the book is written. They morph as the characters and story unfold, chapters get added and deleted, scenes change order, etc. Look at your outline as a path. Fill in as many of the potholes as you can, and then revisit it as you write and the route becomes clearer. Trust yourself. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are probably right. I try so hard to plan plan plan. It’s that need to control everything. I’m just going to write, ditch the outline which keeps changing every time I take a breath.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your post. Thank you for sharing. I too have social anxiety as well as a few other labels.I also dream of finishing my memoir one day and have the same fears as you. Thank you for reminding me that even if one person is happy about it , even if that one person is me than I am a success. I have a lot of self doubts on my book as well and my huge dream is being able to find a publisher so that might be a pretty huge task. So one step at a time. First is editing and adding to my 1st rough drop. I finished writing it in November, but have not got back to it to begin the editing phase and adding more I need to write. I agree that it is okay if I have draft two or three. I must tell myself. Working on my second draft is better than not working on my second draft at all. Thank you again for giving me some hope and a reminder to write my book again. Hugs, Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re done your memoir! That is amazing!! Good for you! That is a huge accomplishment. I hope you have celebrated that milestone before you dive into the next. Thank you so much for stopping by and the heartfelt comment. Hugs to you too! Keep going!


      1. Thank you. I finished but it needs a lot of work. It is a very rough draft. I thought of more I want to write and need to add. So I need to edit it greatly and improve it A LOT!!! I read your post from your writing today with your first few paragraphs. You are a very gifted and talented writer. It is very good. You got talent. I wish I was a better writer because I know I have a great story (my life) that can help others by telling. It is just very difficult to pick out the best and most important parts to make my story concise enough and interesting enough to be reader worthy. Keep up the good work. You are doing great. Don’t forget you are very talented. Yep. You can do it. Hugs, Sue

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It must be rather exciting to already know a direction you want to move in! Good luck as you take a stab at your next draft!


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