When it comes to outlining vs. improvising, I’ve found that we all do the same steps in a different order.
Many writing conversations (whether on panels, in blog posts, etc.) discuss a plotter vs. pantser binary, plotters being outliners, authors who plan work thoroughly before beginning, while the pantser, from the expression “fly by the seat of your pants” plunges into writing the beginning without a plan. I myself am certainly the plotter archetype, producing reams of notes, spreadsheets, and outlining a whole series before beginning Chapter 1, but the more I talk with friends who fit the pantser archetype, the clearer it becomes that the two methods are not as different as they’re made to seem. The real difference is not what we do, but what order we do it in, which steps we do before, which during, and which after drafting the text.