I've never been a fan of outlining. Even as I taught my students to write five paragraph essay by outline, in my head I was poo-pooing the idea of outlining. Then last night, when I was starting at my notebook trying to get myself into my protagonist's shoes, I thought... why not?
Boy, have I been wrong! An activity that took me fewer than thirty minutes, put me onto the path to completion. I would pull out the notebook for some specific examples of how this helped my writing, but Pippin is napping on my wrist. Trust me. It was very helpful.
Now I know how many chapters my novel's going to be, who my protagonist is going to meet along her journey, and how I'm going to include exposition. Now all I need to do is go through and make sure I'm following the rules that I just made up.