I used to be a panster. I've only been writing for roughly two years, but my first four books were just me and my laptop, feverishly writing plotless ideas. It wasn't until I read a few writing books that I started to realize outlining might be my ticket to rid most of my writers block.
Those big scenes, the climax nearing, and yet I have no idea how I'll bring everything together. As a panster those BIG moments were the ones that I'd lose. The ones I wasn't able to answer because I hadn't given it much thought. When I picked up my notebook and began outlining, those weeks allowed me time to truly develop the story.
So... how does outlining help you? Well I can't speak for everyone but below I've listed why I enjoy an outline.
1. Development: Learning about your characters helps the depth of your story. I spent weeks outlining a novel, creating character profiles, mapping out big dilemma's they'd face. I'd set up things like their favorite ice cream all the way to how they'll handle the climax in the book.
2. Prevention: Setting up your characters downfalls gives you a warning on where you could get stuck. Will your character give you trouble on moving from Chapter Six to Seven because they're terrified of the change ahead? Big moves allow you better preperation and prevent you from the road block you'd normally have.
3. Breaks: If a family member passes, a vacation is up, you're about to move. Every day happenings can't be prevented and when you don't outline the book can ultimately be left behind, discarded, and unable to return because it'd just take too much time to catch up on where you left off. Taking breaks with an outline makes it easy for you to jump back in.
4. New Ideas: As writers we love the Shiny New Ideas. They're our favorites, and often times while writing it creeps in. You try and push it back but the curiosity and excitement sit for days. At the beginning we neglect our current WIP in search of that same excitement. If an outline is in place it's easier for us to return after we've taken care of our new idea.
What do you think outlining brings to the table? Why aren't you one to use it?