My first book is a pants-er (wrote by the seat of my pants) book. I wrote how I felt the characters would react in the situations I came up with. Then it came time to edit. My lack of preparation bit me hard at that point.
Had I used an outline the editing process would have been easier. I would have fixed my timeline issues, my low word count, my lack of character development. Not to mention the other seven books that I've started and now sit in google docs waiting for substance.
So I finally did a full outline on another story. I've tried a few before but this time I did something different. I hand wrote the outline. I can't write by hand. There is too much I'm trying to get out that a line on a paper takes too long. Punching one button at a time to make a letter is what I need the most. But the only way to get down a full outline, was by hand.
When I get an idea for a story I get antsy and just want to start typing. On those other unfinished books I even wrote a chapter or two. The bad part is that I'm usually done with that excited rush in a few days to a week. So if I haven't gotten the skeleton of the story out. It dies before it really begins.
Writing my outline by hand made me channel that excitement. I have my story in a skeleton and some meat keeping the bones together. I played out the rush of having something. And later when I can write it all, I'm just adding detail and context. Which is half of the editing process anyway.
So now I have a notebook with me at all times. Just in case lighting strikes with the best book idea ever.