Yowling – Outlining Feels Like Moving Day

Yowling – Outlining Feels Like Moving Day

This past week it struck me that Stage 4 of the creation process is much like moving day. I’ve been trying to figure out how to collect all of the stray pieces of my life, fit them neatly into boxes, and find just the right spot for each item in my new home. A yowling has been rising like a geyser within me. The more I contemplate the task, the bigger it gets. Since I work from home, I have to repeat this process for my entire office as well.

I have 48 hours to do it all.

And I’ve been swamped. Teaching, editing, writing, rehearsing for performances–all the while trying to organize everything in  mind.

Facing the yowling of organization…

In a similar way, organizing the pieces of an essay can be the stickiest part of writing–especially when there’s a deadline. You kind of know where things should go, but arranging all the ideas in a way that feels “feng shui” is not always easy. I know my toothbrush should go in the bathroom and that the couch is destined for the living room. But a particularly versatile shelf could be placed in the living room, bedroom, or office.

Finding the right spot for a thought in a single chapter, section, or set of supporting paragraphs can be hard. Connecting them all can seem even harder. In our mind, it may make perfect sense, but on paper it all mushes together like a bad hair day. No amount of “fixing” improves it. And each attempt can even worsen communication.

It’s enough to make us go out of our minds.

Facing the ticking clock can feed our procrastination. So here are a few tips:

Today I find myself following AA’s advice: Take it one minute at a time. Focus on one task, before bolting into the next.

How do you weather the yowling stress of moving and organizing?



33 Responses to “Yowling – Outlining Feels Like Moving Day”

  1. Jessikah says:

    I enjoyed reading this blog because it was nice to know that somebody else out there in the world feels the way I do about outlining. It is a stage in the writing process that I dread the most but secretly love. It is definitely a love-hate relationship because while I hate the process of actually constructing the outline, I enjoy the ease it gives me as a I transition from detailed outline to fluid essay. One of the lines that made me chuckle was “You kind of know where things should go, but arranging all the ideas in a way that feels “feng shui” is not always easy” because I see myself going through that idea in my head for about fifteen minutes before actually beginning to type anything out. I laugh at the thought but the actual process is frustrating because when I sit down to construct the outline nothing realistic or a base comes to mind for me to start with. The process of outlining is indeed like looking around my dorm room, cluttered in all its clothing, sheets, textbooks, food and miscellaneous items, and deciding what I should pack when going to visit home this holiday break: I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START!

  2. kelyn struiksma says:

    This post really connected with me and where I am personally at in writing my research paper. I have a lot of information, but sifting through all of my thoughts and notes is so overwhelming that I tend to push it back, thus allowing procrastination to take hold of me. The tips were and are so useful in creating, and I am starting to really understand the value of knowing my personal strengths to help me succeed in different areas of my life. I loved the ending and the perspective you provided. To go in a tangent of my own, I think perspective is a very important aspect to learn in life. Perspective can change so much. Even in the way of writing a paper, or structuring an outline. If we look at the task at hand and be all there in that moment then we have potential to acheive and produce something great. We, as christians, are called to do our best in everything, whether that be eating, sleeping, walking, standing, or even in our reseach papers. But our best can only be produce if we take life one thing at a time, and one breath at a time.

  3. Kaitlyn Bauer says:

    When I was reading this post, I found myself rejoicing that someone else knows my frustration. I find it difficult to manage my time let alone organize an essay. This portion of the essay always brings me frustration because this is the time were all the research needs to be brought together in a clear way. However, the way that the essay needs to be brought together in that “feng shui”, which was mentioned in the post, is not clear to me yet. Usually I find myself at ease is when I work in a quiet place for two hours and then I take a break from my work. Usually during this time I talk to my peers about my struggles and they can give some guidance. However, there are times that I need to completely get my mind off my work and do something else, for example walk my dog. The one thing that I know prevents me from moving forward with my essay is my want for perfection and I do not know when to move on to the next stage of writing. This becomes especially difficult during finals when I have more than one final paper to write. One way I get past my perfectionism, is that I look back on the work that I am done with and acknowledge the hard work that I did in order to complete it. Then I am able to finish my essay or at least move on with my essay knowing that I have the ability to produce good work.

  4. Kelsey Colbert says:

    While reading this, it was such a relief that somebody else understood the same emotions I’ve been going through and having to face when writing a research paper. I’ve never written one before, and I had no clue how to organize a huge pile of information. For me, it was hard to visualize how to connect all the different facts together without restating opinions. That’s where the whole organization aspect of writing comes in. Although there are many different ways to organize and format a paper, it’s important to do what makes the most sense to the reader.

  5. Adam Jan says:

    Organizing an essay is probably my least favorite thing to do, but one of the more important steps. It brings so much frustration to me. I’m a perfectionist, so when I start to second guess myself on how I set up my essay, I become paranoid with every litte aspect of my paper. I know from experience that organizing an essay, as well outlining really helps when putting everything together. There’s no way around it. I’ve realized that the small amount of frustration that comes with organizing is worth the easiness that comes from being well prepared.

  6. Scott Heathorn says:

    I find making an outline is the most difficult part of writing an essay in terms of the amount of thought required. However, it also is one of the most enjoyable parts. Figuring out how all the seemingly unrelated points in my head fit together to support a thesis is, for me at least, the most satisfying part of the creation process. I don’t see it as moving or organizing but as building the frameworks of a structure.

  7. Ryan Hollifield says:

    This is exactly what I am still dealing with. This just really hit that spot where I have trouble with. Like my papers all have the detail but to organize it correctly has been extremely difficult in the past. But the yowling creator’s way kind of helped me figure out an easier way to get the outline done to where it really shows and helps in the paper.

  8. Alex Cabral says:

    I agree with this blog very much, because I know exactly what it feels like to have all different kinds of ideas in your head and not know how to make it fit. I am in the process of trying to organize one of my papers right now. I have plenty of good ideas but i do not know how to make it flow. What really has helped me is making an outline and moving things around in the outline and finding different ways to make my paper flow in the way i want it to.

  9. Gabriel O. says:

    The outlining process really does help in sorting out the ideas I have. Unfortunately it is one of the hardest parts of the process for me because I never know what I need to include in the outline. I always feel like there are things missing in my outline once I am done. Once finishing the outline I see how jumbled up my ideas are and how much I repeat myself throughout the outline. Outlining really helps at the end and pretty much makes the paper write itself.

  10. Alexis Maldonado says:

    I agree with this blog because organizing an outline can be difficult. It is hard for me because I know what I want to say but I do not know in which order it should go. I usually never outline because I get too frustrated but the YCW has helped me organize my thoughts.

  11. Shoko Hattori says:

    Wow, it is such a relief that so many people feel the same way. The part I most struggle with when writing and essay or paper is when I try to figure out what information I should cram into the outline. Not just cram but putting all the important information in the most effective way is what slows down my pace. Outlining takes so much time for me. Reading this article strengthened me for the time I go back to school next spring semester.

  12. Jonathan Villacis says:

    This was the most difficult process I had been dealing with for weeks. Organizing throughout an outline didn’t grew on me to well at first. I had a lot of information on what to write but at the same time I couldn’t organize my writing in chronological order. I always feels their are more pieces I need to add on my outline. During the process, it helped me grew more and more on dealing how to develop the ideas that I have. It just a matter of time for me.

  13. Elena Medina says:

    Organization is a difficult step in the process of writing an essay.We have started with the understanding that our brain is a complex organ. It keeps a lot of information throughout our lifetime. In order to organize our thoughts and put them together in a paper we need face the complexity of our brain. This means that we need take it easy. Organization takes time to select the right words to make complete sentences that express a clear and complete thought in each sentence.

  14. German Tapia says:

    Figuring out what and why this or that thought has to go before that one is challenging for me. Making an outline never has been my strength. I mean in an educational style. I always do an outline for my preaching messages; however, until now I have to consider the proper way to arrange the steps to make an outline. I am thankful that I am taking an English class; this will prepare me for my future studies.

  15. Jonatan A says:

    Sort our ideas always is a bit complicated. When we try to write them and think in do it well, is even more complicated. When I read this blog, I felt identified with organizational problems in essay. I am a person who likes to say what I think, but even to say what I want, I have to order my ideas to express myself better.

  16. Isaac McAllister says:

    I have always hates outlines. Even though I know they will help improve the structure of my essay, they are just unpleasant for me to do. This is because they are the very manifestation of organized thought, amd so consequently require lots of effort. It seems easier for me to simply ignore the task and hope it goes away. For some strange reason, this never seems to work… It’s teadious but useful, and ultimitely beneficial for the quality of the writing.

  17. Vanessa Walters says:

    In my opinion, outlining is one of the hardest parts of the writing process. It forces me to solidify my broad topic into actual points and subpoints. After I have finished my brainstorm and have a topic and thesis, I find it extremely difficult to break up my points into more detailed subtopics, or subpoints. It’s even harder when I start fleshing it out and begin to write a detailed outline, including evidence, because I often am not sure where to put specific pieces of evidence if they can fit in more than one place nicely. I find that I outline best if I talk the process out to someone. A simple monologue to another human being helps me get through the logical steps of the outlining process, enabling me to finish a detailed outline to my satisfaction.

  18. Brittni Bigelow says:

    I constantly struggle with getting my ideas out on paper. Everything seems so organized in my mind, but “fleshing it out” seems to go nowhere. This concept directly relates to moving day due to the fact that when one moves, they have an idea of where everything will go, but then everything turns out to be a little different then they last imagined. When I write, or even research, this is exactly how I feel. I head off to the library, gather information, and then stare at it. I feel as if I cannot move. My mind has everything in a perfect place, but cannot seem to throw it onto a paper. Moving day is the perfect way to describe how I consistently feel while outlining a paper.

  19. Sydney Bibal says:

    i feel that outlining is the most important step besides brainstorming. This is the most tedious and longest step for me. However, I think that it definitely makes the actual writing part much more easy. Usually when I try writing a paper without creating a detailed outline, I tend to get stuck throughout the writing and fleshing out stages, which causes more time wasted. However, by having the outline next to me while I am writing, it is less likely for me to pause because I know exactly what to write next. Eliminate the stress and outline! ^_^

  20. Julie Ovenell says:

    My mind seems to always be all over the place and scattered. It’s a struggle to get all my thoughts organized in my mind and then on paper is even harder. I think it is important for us to take a look at how perfect we are trying to make out outline or paper. Sometimes it is better to get our words on paper and have some sentences jumbled and punctuation incorrect than to try and get it perfect the first time. Going back over the paper to revise it is not a big task and it makes the first part of the process easier.
    Everyone has their own way of getting their thoughts in a row and then in words on paper and it is different for each and every one of us. It’s important to know ourself and how our brain works when writing.

  21. Kelsey LaTendresse says:

    I also have a hard time organizing my paper exactly how I want it. There is so many details in an essay that it can feel overwhelming to try and outline what topic goes where. Sometimes after I have made an outline I am happy with, new ideas will come up and I have to rearrange things, which makes it even more difficult. I think that focusing on one task of outlining at a time is the best way. Instead of getting too overwhelmed I can just focus on something until it works and then move on to the next portion.

  22. Hailee Andrews says:

    Many times when doing essay getting all the thought out of my head and onto the paper then organizing in a way that people can understand can be the hardest thing for me. I like things to be done a certain way and when that routine is broken I feel like all hope is lost. I enjoyed this blog to see not only that I am not the only person that feels scattered brained at times but also so see the helpful tips. I didn’t learn until this year about the different duties of the brain and how one side must finish it’s process before the other side can do it’s job and it has helped me with my writing process! I just have to do what my brain is already in the processes of.

  23. Jonathan Schlitt says:

    Organizing is definitely the hardest part of any paper. It is so difficult to determine how to organize such a huge amount of notes and resources into something that makes sense. It gets more and more overwhelming with each new resource that you add because you now have to keep track of that much more information. Research papers are the worst when it comes to outlining. Because of all of the sources that you have to incorporate into your writing, it is hard to make it as specific as you would want it. My mind often goes off on another topic when I start going into detail with my outlines.

  24. Christian Caraveo says:

    I don’t know why but i have always hated outlining! it seems as if my body and mind have been almost angered at the idea of outlining especially because i know i should take the time to! Sometimes i get stuck and while trying to fix the mistake or order of the essay i get distracted and lose all train of thought. I know outlining is very important because i can feel the need to but, even when i do decide to outline, I’m not sure that i do it correctly. AHHH!

  25. German Tapia says:

    Struggling on topics and illuminating spark on my sentences for homework seems to be what controls my
    thoughts and time. Suddenly, the door of my office opens slowly and my wife walks in with a plate of red cheesy enchiladas. It breaks away the struggle atmosphere in which I’m immersed in. My wife said “there is nothing like a good home meal to stop for a minute from struggling moments”. And I said you are the best wife I have ever had. She replies “have you ever had more than one?”

  26. Tania Ortega says:

    Organization is the most difficult step in writing an essay. It stresses me and frustrates me when I get to this part of the process. It totally reminds me of moving and the stress it creates to see a lot of boxes all around the place. Outlining has helped me during this step. It has made things easier and faster. Free write has also helped me because it gives me an idea of how I should organize things.

  27. Pragraphs require a great deal of thought in the writing process. And,as a result I came to the conclusion; that, if we are able to organize our mind then, we are able organize our lives.
    But, we are in trouble in that area as other thoughts creep into our mind to destroy our written words and cause procrastination. On the other side, once we achieve control over our thoughts we will be successful writers.
    Good luck!

  28. Juan Recinos says:

    There are several things that make me struggle ,
    first at all when I go inside my daughter bedroom
    and see all the mess all over the room,
    I’m so neat in my house and it really make me uncomfortable ,
    the other thing is when I am trying to put the words together while I’m trying to creating
    specially if I’m facing a dead line to present a
    home work ,I think I work better without any pressure .

  29. When completing a Yowling there are three components which I especially struggle with; such as organization, flush it out, and the conclusion. When I started the class I felt that it would be impossible to do the work. However, I can say I have been able to do Yowling which helped to better realize my thoughts into a well organized pattern with a strong conclusion.

  30. Maria Elena Lopez says:

    Me being me, I am not a very organized person, because I have so much in my mind, in my hand, and ideas that I just simply cannot contain them all in one place. When im organizing a project a event or somethig that involves planing, I write charts, have meeting minutes, plane dates, have ideas, make so many notes all around. That I just basically have a mess all around, and even worse when I have multiple projects going on at around the same time. It sometimes feels like I can’t find that one thing I need for the project and the little piece missing, I just go crazy, but with help and practice I hope to hopefully be more organized when it comes to planing a project.

  31. Liza R. Rocha says:

    Honestly I was drawn by the photo attached to this blog. The vehicle filled to overflowing. With items stacked on top and popping out of the trunk expresses not only, what my brain looks like through the creation process. But what my feelings look like, as I struggle not to feel overwhelmed. All the stuff stacked on top represents all the contemplating of the tasks or assignments with deadlines I have stacked up. Amidst my attempts to maintain a semblance of a life (these are the items popping out of the trunk). However, now having “The Yowling Creator’s Way” as a tool helps with that struggle. Use of this tool, which has the steps outlined for me will help keep me organized. This will allow me to feel more in control. Therefore avoiding the feelings of being overwhelmed in the creation process. This will eliminate the things stacked on top of the car. Alleviating the feelings of being overwhelmed in the creation process will allow me to better organize the other aspects of my life which will keep them from popping out of the trunk of the vehicle.

  32. I am working on a paper that is due next saturday. I am very positive because my Professor has teached me a lot. I am very positive of my writing because she has help me. The first paragraphs I wrote were all over the place. They didn’t make senses because I wrote them rushing just to finish my homework. I have learned the hard way how to do a better job.

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