For most of my long fiction, I spend months creating an outline before I ever put pen to paper on the novel itself. Usually for short fiction, however, I simply fly by the seat of my pants, letting inspiration take me where it will. The problem with this disparity is that of the outlined novels I’ve created this way, I’ve completed a grand total of zero of them. And yet the freeform stories I’ve just written on the fly? Over half of them have been published already, and the sheer word count of all my short prose alone would equal a novel or two.
So there’s the rub. Outlining might lead to more complex storytelling, more expansive and intricately designed worlds, built with attention to the minutest detail, but they will take you so long to do you might never finish them. One book series, I’ve been editing and re-editing for nine years now! It’ll get done, I’m confident, but I keep having to update the technological references and pop culture jokes every time I revisit it.