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You’re faced with an immense challenge. Your professor asked you to write an essay, which will be very important for the final grade you’re going to get.
Maybe you’ve tried to write few essays before and your attempts were not very successful. Maybe this is your first time writing such a project. In both cases, you have one main goal: get better at academic writing and produce a memorable paper.
One aspect is particularly important for achieving that goal: you need to outline essay before you start writing it.
The college essay outline is the skeleton of your essay. When you know how to develop a proper essay outline, you’ll know how to write the essay.
Why Is the Outline for Essay So Important?
The outline keeps you focused. It gives you a direction to follow, so you will refrain yourself from making digressions while writing.
The outline alleviates the frustration. When you’re faced with an essay, you don’t know where to begin. The outline gives you a place to begin. It helps you organize your thoughts and ideas in a readable format.
The outline makes the writing process way easier. You’ll already have the skeleton of the paper, so you’ll only need to fill in the blanks.
So yes; the outline is really important. The only question at this point is: how to write an outline for an essay?
Writing an Outline for Essay: Preparation Steps
First of all, you have to understand the assignment. Then, you should define your main points. Only then you’ll be ready outline essay.
Understand the Type of Paper You’re Writing
The first step of the process is understanding what type of essay you’re about to write. Usually, college professors assign the five-paragraph essay format. It’s a standard assignment that gives you just enough space to expose your arguments without getting boring. It’s also a nice structure that helps you maintain the paper’s logical flow.
If you’re developing an outline for a 5-paragraph essay of any type, this is what it will look like:
|Introduction||In the introductory paragraph, you’ll explain why this particular topic is important. You’ll give some background on the matter, and you’ll finish the paragraph with the thesis statement.|
|Body||The body is usually consisted of three paragraphs. Each of these paragraphs has a topic sentence, which argues the thesis statement.|
|Conclusion||The conclusion restates the main points and shows how they proved the thesis statement.|
Although you won’t write your essay in a table, it’s okay to use the table for your essay outline format. It will give you a structured format that helps you organize your thoughts.
Understand the Assignment
Your professor gave you instructions for this paper. They set some expectations, so you have goals to meet. That’s why the process of preparation is crucial.
Read the instructions very carefully. Make sure you understand them. If you don’t understand something, discuss the issue with your classmates or simply ask your professor. Most professors are willing to answer questions and clarify the assignments if you ask very specific questions.
Find Your Topic
You’re not writing an outline for essay; you’re writing an outline for a particular essay with a unique topic. This means that you have to find that topic before you start developing the outline.
Start with brainstorming! Without conducting preliminary research, think of everything you know about the general theme that your professor provided for this essay. If, for example, you’re supposed to write an essay about the relationships between people and animals, write all ideas that come to your mind. You know that people keep dogs and cats as pets, so write that. Write any association you have for this topic. This brainstorming process will guide you to ideas that inspire you to write the paper.
Pick the most inspiring idea. Then, search for some interesting aspects related to it. If, for example, you want to explore the relationship between people and dogs, you’ll easily find interesting facts through Google.
We Love Our Dogs, But Keeping Them as Pets Might Not Be the Most Ethical Thing to Do. Now that seems like an interesting topic. Why? – Because it’s surprising and unexpected. It’s not something that most people are aware of. This kind of topic also gives you a lot of space for discussion, as well as opposing opinions that demand you to defend your thesis statement. That’s the kind of topic that would be perfect for the development of a great college essay outline.
Craft Your Thesis Statement
Most students think they should write the outline before they start composing the thesis statement and the main arguments. You could do that, but the approach would leave you with a dry outline like the one in the table above. That doesn’t make your work easier at all.
If you want a really effective essay outline format, then you need to think of your main points.
The thesis statement is the carrier of the essay. It sets the question that your essay will be answering, and it sets the tone for the discussion. It won’t state your full opinion; you’ll save that for later. It rather identifies the main points you’ll be arguing for or against.
When we keep animals as pets, we treat them as commodities, just as we do when we treat them for eating.
That could be a good thesis statement for an essay. It gives you room for discussion, but it still sets the tone of the paper.
Define the Main Arguments
Each body paragraph from the outline should briefly state a main topic sentence. When you start writing the essay, you’ll discuss that topic sentence in the paragraph.
The outline for essay should be brief, so you won’t write too much. You’ll just list some evidence and arguments. You may do that in bullet points, so you’ll keep the outline organized.
At this point, however, you’ll need to do some research. If this is a personal essay that simply calls for your thoughts and opinions, you may skip the stage of research. If, however, you’re writing an argumentative, cause/effect, expository, or compare/contrast essay, you’ll have to dig through some resources.
Don’t worry; a simple essay doesn’t require too much research. Just find strong facts that support your opinions and make sure they come from reliable resources. Journals, books, historical records, articles, interviews, and scientific studies are considered to be authoritative resources in academic writing.
Finally, you’ll write ideas for the conclusion, too.
How to Outline an Essay: It’s Easy When You Have the Main Elements
So you have your main thesis statement, and you managed to find strong arguments that will support it.
Let’s use the example we mentioned above as our topic. Here’s how an outline would look like:
|Body||Body Paragraph 1
|Body Paragraph 2
|Body Paragraph 3
|Conclusion||Restate the thesis statement: As shown through the evidence and arguments presented in the essay, the concept of keeping dogs is much less ethical than most people assume.|
That’s how a well-organized essay outline format looks like. It already inspired you to write an essay about keeping dogs, didn’t it? That’s the main purpose of an outline: to inspire you to write. It creates the perception that the writing process will be simple, since you’ll only have to expand on the outline. With such a mindset, you’ll be ready to develop the essay without facing any serious obstacles.
Never Skip the Outline!
Your professors and all online writing guides tell you the same thing: it’s important to outline essay before you start writing it! Still, it’s strange to see so many students skipping this step and heading off directly to writing once they do some research. Don’t do that!
The outline does take some time, but it also saves you time during the writing stage. In fact, you’ll spend less time on the actual paper if you craft a good outline for it.
Don’t forget to keep it flexible. This is not a rigid format that you cannot abandon. If you get different ideas throughout the upcoming stages of the writing process, you’ll just edit the outline to include them. It’s still important to maintain the logical flow, though.
Hopefully, this detailed guide helped you understand how to make an outline for an essay. Now, you’re ready to start!
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Writing process is defined as a series of steps a writer takes to produce a quality piece. Although every writer has their writing process, each version is essentially the original one “on steroids.” Why following an established writing process is important? Well, being aware of the steps that you need to take to create a quality, structured paper is helpful because you can miss something.
And you want to perfect, right?
Both beginner and experienced writers find following a writing process useful because it allows them to make progress and even enjoy writing. So if you want to know the stages of the writing process, read on.
What are the Steps of the Writing Process?
Like any other serious process, the writing process begins with preparation. Prewriting is the stage of planning when you brainstorm the idea you want to write about, research that idea, collect evidence to support your hypothesis or argument. Making an outline is also made at this stage because you want to begin writing the draft knowing what goes next.
During prewriting process, you should also consider the target audience. Who are you writing for? A professor? Magazine readers? Blog readers? What could be used to “hook” their attention? What may be their goals for reading your text?
If you consider yourself an experienced writer, you may also want to develop a working thesis statement at this point. Indiana University at Bloomington provides the following definition of thesis statement in academic writing (although it also applies to other writing areas):
“One- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow.”
Don’t worry if you cannot decide on a single thesis statement. Just make a list of your ideas and think for a minute which one supports your point best.
The next step of the writing process is drafting. Now, it’s time to begin writing the draft of your paper. All the ideas and evidence you came up with in the previous stage need to be used right now to create the first version. Some writers call this stage “creating a skeleton,” which actually makes a lot of sense because “the flesh,” or details, are added in the next step.
So, the main purpose of this stage is to create an initial composition by writing down the ideas in an organized way and create that “skeleton” of the paper.
No one likes to revise, sure. However, revisions are a key to perfect writing. How can you ensure that the text is perfect if you didn’t proofread it, right? A reader who found a mistake in your writing will not think of you as a good writer. What’s more, only one mistake can result in a total failure.
We don’t want that, so try to refine your text by proofreading. For example, check if all sentences are concise and accurate. Are they connected with each other? How are your transitions? Do you use transitional words that help to connect the ideas in your text (nonetheless, in order that, to put it another way etc.)?
If you need more transitional words, check out the complete list at the University of Wisconsin-Madison writing center.
Congrats, your text is done! Just kidding, you still have to edit it. This process involves checking for grammar and punctuation mistakes, appropriate word selection, clarity of the text, repetitions, and spelling. Don’t begin editing until you completed all the previous steps because there is a good chance that you will waste your time by having to edit the text multiple times.
Experienced writers also recommend to seek feedback from others at this point. It makes perfect sense because you need someone to provide a fresh perspective and maybe find some flaws you haven’t noticed.
The last of the five steps of the writing process includes printing out your paper and submitting it to the professor or another responsible person. In other words, the paper is prepared to be distributed to an audience.
Why is Writing Process Important for Your Success?
Undoubtedly, writing process provides a professional, focused approach to creating texts that helps to minimize the number of flaws and errors. The success in writing cannot come if you ignore these stages. Even though some experienced writers slightly change process or add their own milestones, the order and the fundamentals remain the same.
For young writers, there are a number of reasons why they should learn the writing process.
- Writing process provides organization and structure to those who are unsure about how to start or how continue the flow of ideas
- Writing process helps to boost confidence in writing skills
- Writing process nurtures independence and self-direction
- Writing process helps to develop outline creating skills
- Writing process promotes research that improves quality of writing
- Writing process helps to overcome fear of revisions.
Like any other professional, a writer needs a toolkit that helps to improve skills and complete the writing process in a more effective and efficient way. Check out the list below if you’re looking for some great writing tools online.
To grab the attention of the reader, you have only a few seconds. If the readers find your text too complex, they will ignore it. To help you attract the readers in an effective way, you have to make your piece as readable as possible. This is where this tool comes in.
It gives you a readability score which tells you how easy it is to read and understand your text. The list of factors comprising the score includes keyword density, reading time, various text statistics, sentiment analysis, and others.
2. 750 Words
If practice is what you need to improve your writing, you’ll love this tool. It’s not about writing on a particular subject or using a style. The main idea behind 750 words is to help you develop a habit of writing on a regular basis or overcome writer’s block, which is described as a decreased ability to produce new work or a creative slowdown.
Also, 750 ensure that you write at least 750 words each time you log in (about three pages of writing). To motivate you to reach this goal, the tool will provide you with some cool stats such as the time you spent on writing the text, the themes, and the feelings expressed by certain words and phrases.
Remember what we talked about thesis statement above? Great, this tool will help you to come up with it! It was developed by one of the leading universities in the U.S. and requires certain information from you to produce the thesis, including your version of the topic, main ideas, reasons that support your opinion, and a possible title.
This one is an ultimate distraction-free writing environment. It has several features, including full screen typing and setting a target word count, and the text can be easily copied to a processor of your choice.
One of the best online apps for the editing stage of the writing process. Hemingway helps to make your text more easily readable by highlighting complex sentences, passive voice, and giving you other tips. Each text copied or typed in the app’s window is given a readability grade and tips for improving it.
Some writers prefer to work with some ambient noise, so they go to a café or a coffee shop for a few hours until they complete their work. Now, one doesn’t have to go anywhere because there’s an ambient noise app created specifically for writers. Buzz of a busy Texas café, noise inside a Parisian care, or gentile hum of a quiet restaurant – you have multiple great options to choose from.
This is a resource management program designed for academic writers who use a lot of sources for their research papers and want to organize them. It allows to avoid plagiarism by saving citation information and can be a great assistant for creating bibliographies and categorizing quotations and thoughts.
Get access to the world’s largest collection of verified journal formats and find scholar evidence for your academic papers. TypeSet is also a great tool for formatting papers in various styles including APA and MLA without having to go over the work that can be automated. If you need to submit a paper to a scientific journal, the tool checks the format to ensure that you complete all mandatory sections.
For many people, writing seems a complex process that requires extraordinary effort. While the effort is certainly needed here, one can simplify and structure the process by adopting the stages of the writing process. Each of writing process steps is equally important for creating quality, polished piece that you can be proud of.
So use the writing process and you’ll write faster, you’ll improve your creative and critical thinking skills, and you’ll enjoy your writing more.
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What are the most common mistakes you’re making in content writing? Don’t say you’re not making mistakes. That cannot be.
Even the best writers in the industry face writer’s blocks. They become unmotivated to complete articles on boring topics. When they push themselves through the article without finding inspiration first, you can notice that in their tone. The content is lifeless, and you were used to reading amazing work by the same writers before.
Hey; it happens. We’re only human. However, it’s still important to do our best to become better content writers. Without effort and determination to get better, we’ll only get worse. That’s not something we want to happen, is it?
So what exactly are you doing to get better at content writing? Are you taking an online course? Maybe you’re writing daily entries in a personal journal, so you can maintain the habit of daily writing. Maybe you’re exploring new topics and learning things on a daily basis. That’s all good.
But, what are you doing to improve your current abilities to write content? It’s a very specific issue that requires a different approach. First, you have to identify the flaws. Then, you can work on their improvement.
ProWritingPartner gives us a starting point with this infographic. It’s about the most common mistakes that writers make when trying to produce online content. For your content to be successful, it has to engage the audience in the right way.
Even if you’re promoting something, it mustn’t be obvious. You’re always writing with your reader in mind. You want them to get some kind of value from this article. If you offer a piece full of grammar mistakes, you’re not achieving your goals.
So what are the most common mistakes in content writing? The first serious mistake is the inability to go through a writer’s block with success. The audience can notice when your writing is forced. They know when you skip the lengthy research process and rush through the article. Rest assured: they are not happy for that.
Not knowing who your readers are is another great flaw. When you’re producing content for the online audience, your first goal is to connect with them, so you can drive them towards an action. If you’re not aware of their interests and preferences, you’ll fail to make that connection. If the connection fails, the whole piece of content will be a total failure.
Hey; don’t be bugged if you notice some of these mistakes in your own work. It’s a good thing! You’ll know what to improve. That alone is enough to become a better writer. Now check this infographic to see what the other common mistakes in content writing are.
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