I sometimes lump blueprinting in with outlining. It's different, though, in that it's a method of generating material for new writing, while outlining is more about organizing material you already have.
The Basic Blueprinting Method
As described by Wendy Maas in a workshop I attended in 2016, blueprinting involves coming up with eighteen events that could happen in your book, which become your chapters. Then for each chapter, come up with ten things that could happen in it. For each of those ten things, use who, what, when, where, why questions to elaborate upon them.
There's more to it than that. Take her workshop. Or read her article on the subject.
How It's Been Working For Me
I've used this quite a bit for an adult book I'm working on. I don't worry a lot (or at all) about getting the numbers right. But the system is very helpful. When it's working particularly well, I can practically drop my blueprint notes right into paragraphs.
Why Can Blueprinting Help During A Time Crunch...Like December?
Blueprinting can help when you don't have a lot of time because you can do it in bits and pieces. You can work on coming up with a few things that could happen in a chapter at any time, wherever you are. In the car during a twelve hour road trip, for instance. You can answer who, what, when, where, why questions about the items you came up with in odd moments. Make some notes on your phone, tablet, or any scrap of paper nearby. If you can grab ten or fifteen minutes, pull the notes together.
When you can get back to regular work time, you'll have at least a part of a blueprint to use. You can get back to producing content a lot faster.
Also, just tinkering with your blueprint whenever you can will help keep your head in the game, because you won't have gone days or weeks without even thinking about it.
Next Week: Time Management Tuesday will publish on Thursday to avoid the actual Christmas holiday. It will be my annual recapitulation post. What has Gail done this year?