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Originally Posted by GridLok
I tried placing the subject of my essay in that line but found that every attempt to format it was reflected in the first row below instead.

The reason for trying to do so was that I wanted to number my 1st level rows from 1 and to use them for laying out the various sections of the essay: i.e. I wanted the essay topic to be un-numbered, with the numbered sections underneath.
Firstly, I'd suggest setting up your own "Essay" template and leaving the default template as is; you probably won't want all your outlines to be essays ... there's always that shopping/packing list :D

In your new template, ignore the topic line completely. Hide the status check-boxes. Have the drawer open to be able to select the different rows, and make sure you have the Rows Inspector and Appearance palettes visible.

Set All Level 1 rows to: the font etc. features that you want for your subject; under Row Numbering set no numbering; under Row Spacing set "Indent Children" to zero; under Row Advanced, set "Show handles" to never. That's your subject row.

Set All Level 2 rows to: the font etc. that you wish for your section headings; Row Numbering to numbered format; Row Spacing to indent children or not as you wish, depending on whether you are going to use sub-sections; Row Advanced "Show handles" to never. Use Level 2 rows for your section headings and type your text in the notes area to each, or use Level 3 for the text if you are not going to have sub-sections.

If you are going to use subsections, set All Level 3 rows appropriately in the same way and type the text in the notes area. If you are going to use Level 3 for the text, turn off row numbering, handles and set an appropriate indent.

Save it out as a template and call it up from "New from template" each time you have an essay to write.

Does that help?