Apply These 7 Techniques to Boost Your Outlines

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Hi my name is Nick Brodd and one year ago, my head began aching every time I sat down to write my book. You see, I didn’t know it back then, but I was writing my book completely the wrong way.

Imagine a construction team trying to build a house with no idea of what the final house should look like. I used to be exactly like those construction workers. I had no blueprint.

To be clear, I did have an outline. I knew already back then that not having one was the worst thing a writer could do. The second worst thing? An outline that isn’t detailed enough. That’s what I had. My outline lacked the level of detail that would allow me to get productive and just write .

I finally developed a 7 step solution. I call it RCO. Rapid Complete Outlines. It’s an adaptation of a method that was introduced to me by Ryan Deiss (see his video here). To this day, I use this technique to write great outlines. The moment I start using it, the words start flowing.

Here is my step-by-step method that leads to rapid results:

  1. Prepare 12 index cards.
  2. Write down your 12 most important book topics in the form of questions. Use one card per question. For instance, let’s say you’re writing a book about acne. Good questions could be: What is acne? What are the major causes of acne? What are the most effective acne treatments?
  3. Which of these 12 questions are least relevant to your topic? I suggest you get rid of two of them. Now, you have 10 great chapter topics ready in the form of 10 questions.
  4. Prepare another 120 index cards. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number. You’re only going to write one question per index card. Divide them into 10 sets of 12 index cards. Place one set under each of your 10 chapter topics.
  5. Write down 12 questions you must answer to respond to the overall chapter question. Again, use one card per question. For example, under the main question “What is acne?” you can write the following sub-questions: Where does acne come from? What kinds of acne is there?
  6. Throw away the two questions per chapter that you think contributes the least to the topic. You now have 10 chapters with 10 sub-chapters each. That is a total of 100 questions to answer.
  7. Answer each question with three bullets. Do not try to be too thorough. Keep each bullet short. If possible stick with just one or a few words.

The clear structure that RCO provides allows you to write quickly and efficiently. You don’t have to fumble your way around to figure out what to write next. You know exactly what you are going to write about.

This isn’t just a great productivity technique. It can also make you feel better. You see, for some people, writing a book is one giant, almost impossible endeavor. But it’s only a perception. The truth is writing a book can be manageable if you use RCO. By simply expanding your answers to each question one at a time, you’ll have a book in no time. Want a 100-page book? Write 250-word answers for each question. Do you want something longer, say, 250 pages? Write 625-answers for each question.

You’ll have a complete first draft before you know it. That’s because your mind now is focused on answering each question, not on tackling a giant task like writing a book. If you break it down into short, digestible chunks, you won’t be afraid to take it on. Try this technique for yourself and let me know how it goes.

Questions: What problems in your author life are causing you headaches right now? Please leave a comment below.

 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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About Nick Brodd (112 Articles)
I am a productivity enthusiast, family man, author, executive and entrepreneur. However, the titles I’m most proud of are: 1. Husband 2. Co-creator of the world’s best twin boy and girl. :)

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