What You Need to Know About Creating an Outline for Your Essay

What Makes an Outline Important?

Imagine your instructor hands you a specific topic to present an essay on. You are new to the topic and have to search it online to gain some information. What do you do after? Do you start writing immediately?

The first step in writing is what separates an amateur from a professional. A professional will take time before writing. The writer will analyze the topic further to have a more in-depth view of the subject. The writer will plan how to start the essay and how to end it. They know each idea to incorporate in the essay.

These planning steps before writing your paper is what defines outline. An outline is a pre-writing tool used by writers to gain a more profound sense of the topic. Writing an outline gives you the authority to present your ideas beforehand. You plan how you will include each idea into the essay to make it flow naturally. Further, outlines are known to prevent writer’s block.

What is Writer’s Block?

Do you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of writing your paper? If you can relate, then you have experienced writer’s block. Writer’s block refers to a situation where a writer cannot continue with the writer. Some reasons that might result in the writer’s block include:

  • Fear – Some students run into fear of presenting their ideas to their professors. The fear of failing in your essay can block your thought process.
  • Perfectionism – Some students are perfectionists. They won’t settle for less than a good grade. Therefore, landing a new topic takes a toll on their creative process.
  • Emotions – You might be going through some emotional experiences when writing your paper, such as anger, happiness, or hunger.
  • Distractions – When working in a noisy environment, it is hard to get your thoughts in order. Therefore, you run out of ideas quickly and encounter the writer’s block.

Steps for Outlining Your Paper

A solid outline should clearly state your topic and subtopics. It would help in organization of thoughts in a manner that builds upon an argument. Below is a straightforward writing process when making your outline to stand out:

Selecting Root Problem

The central idea of your paper should revolve around the outline. It is pivotal to sum up, the entire paper into simple sentences or phrases. It plays an integral role in determining the title of your paper.

Identifying Major Topics

It clearly states the major points you need to analyze in a paper. The introductory part should present all the significant points contained in your essay. The rest of the paper should evolve from these significant points made.

Creating First Category

Ensure you clearly state the first significant point in your paper. In case your topic is complex, you can start by providing a definition first. In case you are dealing with a theory topic, you can start by giving short background information.

Creating Subcategories

Use the central idea to build upon the ideas that support the major points. Dividing your subtopics depends on how much information you have relating to the subject in question.

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