Writing can be one of the most exciting things in the world. Writing a fun scene where five aliens attack the earth and a team of people shoot them with laser blasters can be some of the most exciting parts of it. However, that doesn’t make writing easy. Most of the time, it can be a total nightmare, endless days of pulling your hair out or wondering if a simile works in a particular paragraph. Other times, you’re stuck on a significant part of your post or story and not sure where else to take your writing. That one is a bit easier to figure out if you plan out your articles. It’s called outlining, and it is beneficial to your planning no matter what you write!
What is outlining?
Outlining is where you make a list of what parts of a topic you will cover. It can help you plan out paragraphs and know where you’ll go next.
Writers do it to plan out their novels as bullet point points or a list. It can help sort out plot holes and where the narrative will go. Do you see how blog posting and novel writing are different but use similar processes to help?
Why you should outline/plan
Many people out there don’t plan ( I don’t always plan and go with the flow sometimes.) However, not planning can lead to a lot of annoying bumps in the road. If it’s a blog post, not having a plan can leave you struggling with expanding a point or knowing where else you can go with a subject matter.
It can also do the opposite where you know what your writing about and can expand on a point, and you forget to write it down on the post, which means that you have to go back and edit the post later and add it in or leave it altogether.
And if it’s a novel you’ve spent twenty plus years writing, then not outlining can make it difficult to know how to keep the narrative moving past chapter one. On top of that, it can help you figure out worldbuilding and critical plot holes. If you didn’t plan could be left in and make your novel go from publishable to worthy of being shredded and put in the bin.
Types of outlining
There are several types of outlining or ways to plan out your writing.
This is the most typical way of outlining. It’s where you write down the plan of what you are writing in short and swift bullet points one after the other. Separating topics/ paragraphs into the main heading and then putting it into smaller chunks.
If you are a screenwriter, then you’ve probably used this one. If you’ve ever been to a writing workshop, many of the teachers there tell you to post-it notes. Screenwriters usually use the method by using post-it notes to sort out what will happen in their three-act structure, characterisation, and points of conflict.
They are also suitable for the constant reorganisation of ideas. As the problems could be structural, a post-it note can help you change its placement on a wall and the structure. In terms of how it looks, it’s more visual than typical bullet points, and if you are a visual learner, it’s easier to take in the information.
Everyone knows what a mind map is. However, mind maps are seen as more of a revision helper than something that can help with your writing needs. All you need to do is put the name of the blog post or novel or whatever you are writing in the middle of the page, and then connect your points to the word with a line and expand the topic.
Mind mapping (or clustering) is another popular outline because it is like a stream of consciousness. Plus, it is more visual than bullet points. Plus, it can be more beneficial for larger bodies of writing. All you need is a larger sheet of paper.
Unlike the bullet point method, this outlining type makes you organise your content and plot in full-length sentences.
An example of summarised outlining
Let's pretend we're writing a blog post on clowns. Below is how we could utilise summarised outlining to plan the content of the post.
Mention how clowns have been around since a specific time and then move on to how they are seen today.
The start of the blog will talk about why people like clowns, that they are entertaining and have cool tricks.
Move on to why people don’t like clowns and what coulrophobia is (May mention Stephen Kings IT)
What alternatives there are for entertainment instead of clowns.
Tell readers I hope this helped and that this article on clowns was fun to get them through the day.
See, summarised outlines can be good for planning for blog posts and help you stay on track. This one is good because it helps you create better connections between paragraphs and enables you to understand what you’ve written easily.
I hope the guide to outlining has enlightened you on the pros of planning your blog posts or your writing in general. And that it lessens the amount you get stuck in the bumps of the written word
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