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article outlineRemember how big a chore it seemed to be to write a paper in school? And remember how our teacher insisted we create an outline to make the writing task more manageable? While we may not have enjoyed it, if we’ll be honest with ourselves, an outline did seem to help. We were better able to organize our thoughts and decide in advance what we wanted to say. An outline gave us a roadmap to follow as we wrote the article. Thankfully, it can do the same thing today.

Not everyone is a born writer. But writing is a part of doing business online. Unless you can pay to hire someone, writing is necessary for promoting an online business. Whether it’s writing blog posts, articles or website content, it’s important you can churn out some written documents occasionally. While it may still seem like a chore, an outline does help make the task of writing more manageable, especially for those who don’t really want to write and who really don’t enjoy it very much.

An outline can become the underlying design for a blog post or article. As mentioned, it can be the roadmap that directs you to the place you want to go. By having an idea, in advance, of the points you want to make, you can be sure you get there with your sentences and paragraphs. It’s also a great way to eliminate unnecessary verbiage and fluff.

Creating and following a simple outline for your writing will help you write faster. It speeds up the writing process continually because you know what you want to say, you can say it, then you can move on to the next point. Before you know it, your writing task is complete and you’re ready to get to the next goal you want to accomplish.

To begin your outline, do some brainstorming. Write down any ideas that come to you and that you want to be sure to include in your writing project. Think of the most important aspects that you want to communicate to your reader. Include anything you discovered in your research, and any common knowledge, facts or opinions you want to include. Short notes, phrases or single words that will jar your memory enough to help you flesh out the thoughts later work fine here.

Once your ideas are on paper, look them over. Be sure you’ve covered all the important points. Add notes about the topics you may have left out. Reread your notes, if necessary, to ensure you’ve covered everything you want to say.

Next, look over your ideas and categorize them into three or four sub-topics. You can use subheadings to create sections that each topic will fit. If you include an introductory paragraph and a conclusion paragraph, your article will pretty much have written itself by this time.

Flesh out your sentences and paragraphs. Put them in a logical order, use proper rules of grammar, be sure your sentences are complete and that you haven’t left anything out. You now have a draft to work with.

Revise, edit and polish your draft, checking spelling and grammar at this point until your work shines and is the best you can make it. Ideally, let it go for a day so you can read back over it later. But if you don’t have time, read it once more to check for errors you may have missed, and Ta-Da! You have a new article ready to publish. Don’t you think the writing was quicker and easier because of an outline? Most people do who follow one.