For most students and adults as well, writing an essay is a grueling task and sometimes very difficult to do. Despite how tricky it can be, though, most students can expect to write at least one essay per class per semester precisely. As such, it is important that students learn how to become great essay writers as well. One of the simplest ways to become a great essay writer is to learn how to write a good outline for the essay.
Why Do You Need an Outline?
For many, figuring out how to start and structure an essay is overwhelming and difficult task to do. That’s where your outline comes in handy and finger tips. Learning how to create a good outline will extend far beyond the academic life of an individual. Outline writing is a skill that will carry over to the professional career, where it will be useful to help an individual formulate successful workplace communications as well and will take an individual to long heights precisely.
Why should one make an outline?
Thought clarification and idea development:
Like we alluded to above, staring at a blank page can be overwhelming and difficult. When an individual does not know how to start or do not know what they are planning on talking about in their essay, it can be tricky to get started precisely. Creating an outline will help flesh out the details of what an individual want to write, which can help them overcome writer’s block as well. Moreover, an individual can also develop their thoughts and ideas in their outline, and start to organize it to fit their paper’s main argument respectively.
One of the biggest mistakes that novice writers make is not creating a sound argument or having enough evidence to back up their claims as well. When making an outline, an individual will break down each facet of their argument.
Organising is one of the important steps for the essay and one should never skip this step at any cost. Outlining points and supporting details gives an individual the opportunity to realize if they are getting unfocused while making their argument or not. For example, an individual might realize that the personal anecdote that they thought was a good idea to share actually makes their writing come across as clunky and unorganized one precisely.
Think about the concept of an outline for a moment. You are essentially creating a step-by-step plan for your end-product at the moment. You are putting in the work upfront creating a comprehensive guide for when it comes time to write your final product in proper manner. As a result, you are actually saving yourself time later because your thoughts are already composed and organized, and you have collected the supporting details that you will need later on in the process of writing. Many writing experts state that as long as you do a good job creating a solid outline, you can save up to 50% more time drafting your entire paper and that though with less errors.
So, How Do You Create the Perfect Outline?
Now that you have gained knowledge of why writing an outline is so crucial to the success of writing your actual paper, it’s time to learn how to draft the perfect outline for the essay. There are many different ways to create your outline, and as you become more confident in your outline-creating skills, you can tweak the process to make it work for you in a very systematic way. However, if you are just starting out, you should follow the simple steps mentioned below.
1. Brainstorm the argument
When you first receive an essay topic from your tutors and instructors, you may find it so broad which is difficult to handle and write. Under that condition, one should refine and divide what they have been assigned into different perspectives from a general topic precisely. A mind map can be started at this time based on the centre topic to have extensions as well. An individual does not need to worry about the boundary, just brainstorm to put every idea they think down at the moment. After the brainstorming process, one can judge all the ideas, select one which they prefer, and confirm their essay theme precisely. After deleting what one does not need or hiding them, he or she can start their essay and go on the next step.
If they are looking for a simple, visual way to organize all of their ideas, mind mapping is the way to go long. Mind mapping is a strategy designed to help effectively brainstorm in a way that allows an individual to see all the thoughts on paper. It allows for creative thinking and flexibility that traditional brainstorming cannot provide. It also makes it possible to show how solutions or ideas are related, which is sometimes essential depending on the topic or problem you are trying to solve through the brainstorming session.
Another perk of mind mapping as a brainstorming activity is that it can be done independently or collaboratively as well. It can be a useful tool for brainstorming, but can also transfer to strategic planning or project planning after an individual have completed the brainstorming session. To get started with mind mapping, follow these steps precisely:
1. Start in the middle of a blank page, writing or drawing the idea you intend to develop respectively. I would suggest that you use the page in landscape orientation.
2. Develop the related subtopics around this central topic, connecting each of them to the centre with a line.
3. Repeat the same process for the subtopics as well generating lower-level subtopics as you see fit, connecting each of those to the corresponding subtopic respectively.
2. Create an essay structure
The common structure for an essay consists of an introduction, main body, conclusion, and references precisely. One can set these as the primary branches and full fill detailed structures in the second-level branches as well. At second-level branches, an individual should plan how many main ideas they would like to allocate to different paragraphs as well. For the third level branches, ideas related to a fixed topic should be expanded in a logical order and keywords should be extracted so as to maintain sufficient contents as well. The fourth-level branches contain specific theories, experimental methods, discussion note, cited documents and related supporting information which might be convenient for the reference while writing.
3. Explore all the details
As mind mapping software has a drag-and-drop function, one can note down anything they need and ignore position as well. If one finds several ideas point to one argument, boundary function helps surround these ideas and callout can be inserted to summarize the argument as well.
4. Check the organization
After an individual lists all their arguments, an individual should link them together at this time. Using arrowhead or lines to let what they have noted down in a logical way precisely. Although one has various perspectives to support the essay, an individual still need to judge that is stronger to be applied and which might be deleted as well. Mind mapping in this process can help an individual boost their efficiency and make the essay structure clear and intuitive precisely.
5. Follow the outline
If you finish the process of planning your essay structure and outlining it, you can start writing according to what you have programmed and framed. The only thing you need to do is to extend your arguments and comb the syntactic structure in a well organised manner. An individual must mind their grammar and avoiding mistakes, so you will complete the task of using mind maps to write an essay respectively.
Always brainstorming and mind mapping will explore the thoughts. With various views, one can have rich content in writing an essay and form a good habit of planning before writing precisely. Ultimately, mind mapping will not just help you write a well-organized essay, but influence your critical thinking ability in a much better manner as well.
Read also – 15 Proven Tips to Make Your Essays Longer
Presentation of the outline
Within each paragraph, an individual should discuss a single idea related to their overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so as well.
In the outline, one can present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases as well. They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed or required.
By keeping these tips in mind, an individual will be well on your way to learning how to effectively write the perfect essay outline respectively. The next step is to work on the writing process and editing skills as well. Remember, it may seem overwhelming at the start, but if you put in the work to finesse your outlining skills, you will definitely reap the rewards later on in the long run.