“A real writer uses an outline.”
“A real writer keeps a notebook.”
“A real writer uses character bios.”
“A real writer… writes.”
That last statement is something that writers sometimes forget; especially those who have just started to take their writing seriously. There’s nothing wrong with researching and adapting other writer’s ideas or methods to compliment your own, but when you stack their method up as an unflinching brick wall and fling yourself against it, all you do is cripple your ability to write.
Different people work in different ways, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you use outlines then you shouldn’t suddenly stop because someone else swears against them. By the same token, if you write successfully without them, then you don’t need to mire yourself in the outline swamp. There’s no such thing as the “perfect universal” method. Just as every story is unique, so is every writer’s inspiration, execution and method.
And what is a “real writer”, anyway? A writer who’s published traditionally? A writer who has a full manuscript finished? A writer who has a successful blog? What defines “a real writer”? I think I can put it simply:
A real writer is a writer who is actually writing and anything that keeps you from that is just so much fluff.