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How Writers Create

Do you remember creating outlines in sixth grade English class? Well, outlines may have a place in helping you, as a writer, create good prose.

Although I recall intensely disliking having to create an outline for book reports and essays for the teacher to critique, I like creating outlines for the things I am writing.

Studies show that outlines help our brains make sense of jumbled thoughts. They also help writers organize their articles in a way that frees their minds to be creative when they sit down to write.

An outline can help you identify strengths and weaknesses in the premise of the article you are writing. It may also help you develop or combine paragraphs, so the information flows logically.

When you draft an outline for an article you are writing, it may help to build the outline using a two-part process. Try this and let us know how it works for you by leaving a comment below.

Step One in the Outline Process
In step one of this two-part process, create a rough draft of the outline of your article by listing the title and any subtitles you want to include that are relevant to your target audience. Write stream of consciousness and include no more than four or five subtitles.

Step Two in the Outline Process
Go through the outline again, this time adding more detail to each subtitle. You can write phrases or complete sentences to expand the outline. However, remember to keep it brief. You will include more detail when you write the actual article.

I tend to use outlines as a way to remind me of what I want to include in the articles I am writing. So Step Two in my outlines usually looks like an extension of the rough draft I created in Step One. However, when I am writing a lengthy feature article, I usually write in complete sentences in Step Two of my outline.

Experiment with different ways to create outlines that feed your creativity and make your articles easier to write. And please let us know how this two-step process works for you or if you use a different process when you write.

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