How Outlining Gets You Unstuck

This post was written by Liam Friesen, who has recently joined Daley Progress in a part-time support role. (How lucky am I to have a journalism student helping me out?)

Telling yourself that you want to start writing an article is simple. The hard part comes when you actually begin.

This is an issue that plagues those who know what they want to write about but don’t quite know how to explain it. If this is a problem you run into often, try starting with an outline.

From time to time, I struggle when trying to formulate an article. I find myself unable to put my ideas into words and I get stuck. However, when you create a layout or an outline for your topic, you won’t fall into a pit of wordiness and confusion.

An outline can appear in any way you want, as long as you include the following: an introduction, your main body information, and a conclusion. The introduction and the conclusion are quite self-explanatory but the main body paragraphs are where most people get lost.

Think of it as the plot of a movie. Movies are written such that they follow a path of specific events leading to a thoughtful conclusion. When you start to write an article, order your information in such a way that it is clear and precise, where it leads to the conclusion of your article effectively. The body paragraphs are what make or break your article, which is why they require the most consideration and planning.

It’s also a good idea to include details, such as statistics and quotes that directly relate to the topic at hand. This is a smart decision for you and your outline. As you think of items to include in your article, you can place them into your outline ahead of time. This also prevents you from forgetting any ideas you want to include. Trust me, I’ve forgotten about important details many times before.

How successful your article is, depends on how well you prepared for it. If you write on a whim, the likelihood of your article being a success goes down. But, if you put in the time and prepare, you will have accomplished something valuable for yourself and your readers.