Now, we’re going to talk about the importance of creating an outline before you begin writing a paper. A number of students skip this step – mostly because they want to get the hard process of writing a rough draft out of the way. Don’t make this mistake. Once you start writing proper essay outlines, you’ll never go back.
There are a variety of reasons why outlines are not only useful, but necessary in writing a great paper. First of all, an outline makes the writing process run smoothly. You already know what you want to say, and how you want to say it. You already know what points you want to hit. You already know where your important quotes go. Plenty of students simply build on their outline and call it a rough draft. Once you take away the numbers and letters, you’re left with a workable paper.
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Outlines also give you an idea of where to go next. Since you know what point you’re building toward, you can aim your writing in that direction. For example, if I want to use Barrack Obama to navigate toward a conversation about medical insurance, I’m going to cater my quotes and information to hit that point. I’m getting from Point A to Point B. This makes my writing clear and direct. I’m not scrambling to make a relevant point.
In addition, for those of you who hate sitting down and writing for three or four hours, creating an outline breaks your writing up into bite-sized chunks. You can sit down, elaborate on a few important points, then take a break. When you come back, you’ll still be in the exact same place you were before. You won’t need to get your mind back in the game. Your writing will already be there. You won’t have to think of somewhere to go next. You’ve already done that. Your writing will be anything but sporadic, and you won’t be able to tell when you took a break or lost your sense of motivation.
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Finally, in the long run, having an outline saves you time. Your paper will be clean, precise, and straightforward. Your professor will appreciate the amount of thought you put into the structure of your essay. And, in addition to everything we just said, you won’t feel the constant pressure to come up with useful ideas. Everything will be done already. You just have to write.
Writing is much easier when you know where you’re going with it.
Before we move on and talk about actually writing your rough draft, we’re going to give you a quick step-by-step guide to creating an outline. If you’ve chosen a topic (or, if you’re using the topic we provided), make an outline. You don’t have to write a rough draft or look for resources. Just see what you can create based on your subject. Chances are, you’ll find that writing an outline helps you formulate and connect ideas and stay on track.
1. Organize your paper in a stepping-stone fashion with both numerals and letters from the alphabet. For example –
1. Hillary Clinton
2. Barrack Obama
3. John McCain
B. Hillary Clinton
1. Health Care
2. Prison Reform
2. Once you’re organized, add a sentence or two for each subsection. What point are you trying to make in this section? What are you trying to say?
3. When you’re formatting your outline, only add a subsection if you have more than one thing to talk about. If you only need to make a singular point, don’t bother with a subsection. For example –
A. Hillary Clinton
1. Prison Reform
B. Barrack Obama
This outline doesn’t make sense. If you want to talk about prison reform and Hillary Clinton, but the whole subject in the same line. There’s no sense in creating a subtopic when it’s actually the main essay topic. It should become –
A. Hillary Clinton and Prison Reform
B. Barrack Obama
It just makes your outline neater and easier to understand.
4. Add to your outline as you come up with more ideas.
5. Add quotes from your research to your outline. If there’s something you want to quote in your paper, it should already be included in the outline. That way, you don’t have to worry about quote placement after you’ve written your essay.
Again, outlines are a huge part of the essay writing process. They help you stay organized and keep your thoughts collected. Getting into the habit of making a proper outline for your essays will ensure that you inch closer and closer to that “A” paper.
Author: Deborah V. Chandler | Designation: Chief Editor | Date Published: 14, June 2010
A strong outline makes a meaningful original essay. Developing outline for essay writing makes a student write his essay faster and efficiently. It is the major part of the prewriting process of an essay. The time you spend to develop an outline for essay writing can be saved when you actually write the essay. An essay outline is a list of all required information that you plan to include in your essay and it doesn’t necessarily rule out any points that you feel unnecessary at the time of preparing your outline for an essay. Preparing an outline helps you order your information to support the thesis statement most effectively.
Since writing an outline can sometimes be tedious job because this is where you actually start thinking about your essay seriously. Following some basic guideline can be of help here. Your essay combines three major parts, the introduction, the body and the conclusion. Let’s look how you can prepare an outline for your introduction, you need to state the thesis statement and two to three major points. When preparing outline for introduction get the most important points to be included here so that you can generate the curiosity in the reader and get his attention. When you develop outline for the body of your essay, it should have points specified depending on the length and requirements of your essay. You should identify points that support the thesis statement of your essay.
Each point should then be noted to explain when you actually write your essay. You should also find suitable examples that clearly explain your point. You can find more than one example for each point as you can choose the most suitable ones when you are finally writing it. Other than examples you should also collect facts and quotations that prove your major supporting points. You should also plan and outline how to show the point is relevant to your thesis statement. Depending on the requirement of your essay there should be points ranging from three to unlimited and each point should be given all the above mentioned supporting factors like examples and relevance proving statements. The conclusion should also be included in the prewriting process. You conclusion should tie points together to prove your thesis statement and it important not to include any new ideas in the conclusion. Another major pre-writing requirement is the formation of transition statements from one point to another. When you outline your essay, you should spend time to develop transition phrases and it helps to keep your essay in order and well organized.
There are some students who don’t bother to spend time on developing an outline for essays and start writing right away. Here are few benefits of writing an outline for your essays. The most important benefit is that an outline helps you organize your thoughts and develop the essay from it, rather than start writing out of the blue. Once you develop an outline for your essay, you will be able to identify gaps in your research and supporting points and you get enough time to fix them. By developing a strong outline you are actually taking the stress away because you know what you are doing when sit to write the essay. It would always be beneficial to present your outline to professors so that they can make sure you are in the right track and can suggest you changes which would make your essays outstanding.
Often students find it difficult to start the outline writing process. You can start by gathering all the information you have collected on the essay through your research and sort the information you find beneficial. Next step could be a working thesis statement and selecting points that support it. Make sure you have covered all the major parts of the essay in your outline as introduction, body and conclusion before you actually start writing the essay.
Developing Essay Outline
General Essay Outline