Originally Posted by gmw
Or not ... as the case may be. Not all the threads you follow will be successful (or not publishable). But I do agree with the sentiment anyway. Sometimes you just have to follow a path to find out where it leads. Even if you have to back track and try again, as long as you remembered to enjoy the scenery along the way they were still paths worth taking.
Yep, an outline isn't intended as a set in stone path that the writer has to follow. It's more of a general guide. For example if you were planning a trip cross country from New York to Los Angeles you would probably plan how many miles you thought you would want to travel per day, how much you would spend on gas and food, and a general route of roads that you planned to use to get you where you wanted to go, both in the long term final destination and where you wanted to be at points in between points A and Z. Of course some roads may be closed due to repairs or you may find them congested with traffic, etc. when the time came which would make detours necessary which would change some things from your general plan but such are not as important as reaching your destination.