Anne Lamott is a great writer and thinker. This is a very true statement. And she does have some good advice for writers. This is also a very true statement. She also has some not very good advice for writers. This is a very true statement.
I won't go into what is good because that would take a while and most people have already heard it.
I will go into a piece of advice that has entered the world of writers seeking their way into the publishing firmament that is not very good at all. She says, just write. Don't worry about outlining or editing as you write, just sit down and write and get the book out and then do all the other stuff.
If you're Anne and can wake up at 6am every morning and only worry about the existential issues of life (cancer, love, raising good children, relationships) without worrying about your job, the plethora of stuff you have to do every day to keep the job and family going then this might be good advice.
It works for her.
But for the rest of us, we have jobs and things and people that need and take our time. We don't have the luxury of sitting down every morning to spend the next six hours writing and then go on and do all the stuff that keeps our world rotating on its wobbly axis.
We steal moments, an hour here or there, to work on our own literary dreams. We don't have the luxury of not creating a road map for what we want to write. We need to be efficient and find ways to keep the narrative and story on track when we may not see it for a week because the kids have that wicked cold everyone else has and then we get it and are laid up.
A road map, otherwise known as a structure or high-level outline, provides us with the ability to write when we can in a way that is consistent with the story and narrative and allows us to efficiently progress with as clean and near-to-finished a manuscript as we can possibly manage.
This is but one way that I help my clients as a writing coach. I help them understand what a road map is, why it's important and how to create one of their own that is dynamic enough to handle changes and bright new ideas as they come along during the writing.