Writing An Essay? Create An Outline First!

An outline is a planning tool you use to keep…

An outline is a planning tool you use to keep track of the subjects and ideas you intend to cover in a written piece.

Knowing how to create an outline is a huge help when writing anything from research papers to creative pieces. Even so, many writers and students lack the knowledge to properly format or create an outline.

So, in the following sections, we will outline how to write one and provide a formal outline example. In today’s guide, we’ll look at how to create an outline that will make it easier for you to write.

Sounds interesting? Keep on reading!

What Is an Outline?

picture of architectural plans with a pencil on top.
Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

You can think of an outline as the building plans of an architect. Just like a building’s plans, an outline gives you the general structure your work will follow!

A writing outline serves as a form of road map. Simple summaries include a summary of the subjects you plan to discuss and the order in which you will do so.

Typically, an outline comprises paragraphs and the supporting details, such as logical or statistical evidence. When writing the draft, the author just adheres to the framework so they recognize what to write about and in what sequence.

Why Write an Outline In The First Place?

Why should you make an outline? There are various factors, but generally speaking, when you want to demonstrate the hierarchical relationship or logical ordering of information, creating an outline may be helpful.

An outline can help you manage voluminous amounts of data when writing research papers. An outline can help creative writers keep the various plot lines organized and character traits straight by keeping track of them.

Many people discover that creating an outline for an oral report or presentation makes them more effective public speakers. By helping you organize your thoughts, an outline facilitates the writing process.

More importantly, it contains your information logically and demonstrates how your writing’s ideas relate to one another. In addition, it establishes boundaries and groups and creates an organized overview of your writing.

Using topic outlines, you can focus solely on the organization and positioning of everything. This way, you can avoid getting sidetracked by the big picture while writing the first draft and focus on specifics like sentence structure and clarity. 

You must understand how to create a paper outline if you want to keep track of your previous research. By generating an outline, you can decide how to arrange your content into sections and paragraphs. The outline helps you arrange your research and ensures you don’t overlook anything when writing the initial draft.

How to Create An Outline?

Preparation comes first in every writing process. Academic writing entails conducting research and gathering data to support your thesis. That entails thinking of ideas and brainstorming in terms of creative writing. 

Once you’ve decided that, you can begin to organize your outline. You can always add extra content if you develop an idea afterwards. But generally, the more content you have ready at the start, the easier the rest of the writing process will be. 

Once you’ve decided what you want to write, whether a solid argument or creative content, the following step is to structure your writing. The most frequent and effective way to organize a topic is by paragraph.

Organize your research findings or your unique ideas into discrete topics. Group your ideas according to how they are related as each paragraph should only contain one primary idea.

Remember to relate specifics, such as statistical information, to the most pertinent paragraph topic. 

Your list of topics should be dispersed and organized into paragraphs by this point. The best order for the sections to be in is something you should decide after that. 

Consider whether the reader will immediately understand a topic or if some background information is necessary. You should cover some issues early to prepare the reader for more complex material. The chronological order is also acceptable if you need help deciding. 

Organize the topics in your outline as you believe will work best. This will serve as its framework. Imagine this as the first draft of your outline; if you want to change how it’s set up, you can rearrange the items later. 

When you’re happy with the organization of your paragraphs, you can begin adding supporting information, such as quotes and citations to sources.

Conclusion

In order to successfully write an essay, it’s important you first create an outline. This ensures you have a clear image of what your essay is about and what the main points of your argument are.

Whatever you do, do not go into the essay process without an outline in place. Whether you’re facing a class, a family member, or a work project, make a plan and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll face a disappointing ending.

Frequently asked questions

Writing An Essay? Create An Outline First!

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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