3 types of chapter outlines to make writing easier

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A. A. Milne

Good books don’t just happen, they are designed or should I say outlined?  Outlining chapters give us a clear structure, a pathway from one chapter to the next, gives us direction, helps us to connect each chapter to the overall theme and helps us to answer questions that our reader may have and most importantly makes your book easier and faster to write.

Chapter Outlines

To determine how you will create an outline my first question is what kind of content are you delivering?  Are you taking a step by step approach, is it a list of something, interviews, Q&A’s, or a life story?

Step by step

The step by step or process outline method is commonly used in how-to and self-help books. E.g.

  • Six weeks to a new you.
  • 10 steps to reach your full potential.
  • Five unknown secrets to weight loss success.
  • Five steps from understanding yourself to getting your book self published.

Each chapter then is one of the steps and within each chapter, there will be a logical flow.


The list approach usually looks something like this, e.g.

  • 101 ways to cook a chicken.
  • 99 hot marketing tips for therapists.
  • You would simply list out your tips or ways in a sequence that appears logical to you, or you might group similar tips together.
  • Question and answers / interviews

If your book was based on a series of question and answers or interviews then consider presenting these logically as case studies.  In combination with your case studies you may have theories, action plans videos and exercises.

Life stories

When the book is based on part of your life, the key is to consider what each of your chapters is trying to convey.  It may be a sequential set of events, or each chapter might be about a different persons perspective or events in different places or times.  The options are endless.


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