Article Writing Tips: Creating An Outline

When you have an article to write, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you research first, just start writing, or create an outline? The best way is arguably to start with an outline, because it can help you plan out the rest of your article and save you time down the road. If you aren’t familiar with how to make an outline for a piece of writing, here are a few basic things every outline needs:

  • A title for your article
  • How long does it need to be?
  • Divide your page into relevant sections
  • Summarize desired content
  • Put in notes to yourself for sources
  • Think about a bibliography at the end
  • Do you need any subtitles?

Making an outline should be easy. You’re basically taking thoughts, ideas and concepts and putting them together in an organized manner. This will help you when you sit down to start writing the actual article, because you’ll already know where things go, how long each section needs to be, and how you want it to look when it’s finished. Outlines might take some of your time at first, but they help you avoid time wasters later on because the important decisions regarding your article are already made.

Using your Outline to Write an Article

Now that you have an outline, what is the best way to use it? There are many approaches to this, and it partially depends upon your outline, but going along with the points above, here are some ways to get the most out of your outlining work:

  • When you do research, you can simply drop it into the appropriate section
  • Make sure to answer or address each note to yourself
  • Always check the length periodically to maintain the right word count
  • Use your summarized content and expand on it to create your first draft
  • Alter your titles and subtitles if they need it
  • Update your bibliography section with new research
  • As you go through your outline, feel free to change or update sections

Each student’s work process is different, but everyone can benefit from using an outline for their articles. If you’re having trouble with creating one, fall back on that first list of steps above and look at your outline again. Is it missing something important? Your outline should be as strong and complete as possible before you start writing and research for the article.