I spent my three-day weekend writing an 80-page federal grant. The hardest part? Creating an outline of what I was going to write.
We had been talking about this project for weeks and I had input from numerous collaborators on what content should be included. The government provides a proposal outline of course, but my challenge was synthesizing all the ideas into a cohesive outline to follow when writing. It took four sheets of flip chart paper with two columns each and a full day to compile but in the end, it made the writing process so much easier.
By outlining, I don’t mean a rigid sequence or the use of Roman numerals, rather a bullet list of points to make in the anticipated or approximate order. It becomes liberating instead of restrictive.
When faced with a large project, it’s often tempting to jump right in. That may work for some people, but my time is better spent investing in the front end. Once you have an outline, it’s like punching in the GPS coordinates to your destination – much faster to follow a route than to get lost on the way.