Should Your Writing Process Start with an Outline?

For many, the writing process begins with making an outline of the piece they must complete. But is making an outline always necessary?

Every article writer has their own writing process, but here are some suggestions for planning out a piece prior to writing it.

Long Pieces

If you’re tasked with writing a longer piece where you’ll need to organize lots of subject matter, making an outline is never a bad idea.

Outlines for longer pieces allow writers to confirm that they’re ticking off all the topics they need to cover and can help ensure that a piece is thorough, complete, and well-researched. Outlines typically don’t take very long to do and can really help keep a writer on-task and focused on an assignment.

Shorter Pieces

Shorter blog posts and quick-hit types of pieces probably won’t require an outline to help you organize your thoughts. However, this doesn’t mean that you should just write aimlessly.

Regardless of what you’re writing, you should have some sort of roadmap in mind for how you want to start it, what the middle should include, and how to wrap it up. Whether that consists of outlining the piece or just managing the assignment in your head is strictly your call. Sometimes, it helps just to take some time to think about an assignment and the direction you want to take with it.

About the author

In a career spanning more than 15 years, Scott C has experience writing for a variety of mediums. He started in sports writing, which is still his favorite type of writing, and then moved on to hard news and feature writing while working for a community newspaper. He also has experience in technical and automotive topics and has an ability to take complex subjects and write them in a way that is understandable and engaging. 

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