Generally, I like to “shoot from the hip” when it comes to writing. Just like most of my verbal conversations, I say whatever, whenever I think it. I previously wrote about how I used to almost pride myself in my honesty and transparency, and thought it was the most genuine form of communication. I realized however, that I was actually creating walls and the heart of what I was trying to say was often lost in translation. So today’s post is my first attempt at actually outlining my thoughts before I just go willy nilly typing away. Here’s goes 🙂
3 Reasons Outlining is Actually Kinda Awesome
Roman numerals, note cards and thesis statements are what mostly comprise my memories of learning to outline a writing piece. I’m not sure about you, but form seemed to take precedence over content. Perhaps that’s where my aversion to structured writing began, as presentation received higher praise than original thought. Now that I am responsible for my son’s education, I figured it was time to put my rebellion aside and practice what I will be preaching in a few short years, outlines. In so doing, I was surprised to discover that the aren’t nearly as dreary as I remember. Outlines are actually kinda awesome because they keep the writing piece on task, create a flow to the writing and are in my opinion, liberating.
If you know me, or have read any of my previous posts, it’s clear that keeping a conversation on task isn’t exactly my strong suit. I might have a concept in mind, but in my efforts to offer some background, I inevitably rabbit trail away from the my point. These distractions, though possibly interesting, do little to serve my initial purpose. Outlining this post revealed that I am an excellent brain-stormer, and mediocre decision maker 🙂 That’s the beauty of it though, simply putting together a general plan for this post first, instead of just writing with a topic in mind, has enabled to focus on what message I want to convey MOST. Staying on task with a piece of writing lets you unpack one idea at a time and as the readers really soak it in.
Creating a consistent or pleasing flow to your writing not only helps to get your point across, but is also just plain polite. The first rule of public speaking is to consider your audience, and if you want to be heard you have to learn to cater to their needs. Perhaps that is why most blogs these days have switched to the bullet format for writing. Quick, easy to read and to the point. Honestly, the trend to list rather than unpack or discuss a thought is what lead to this post’s title. Outlining offers more than focus and direction for the writer, but creates a path for the reader to follow.
Staying on a specific track, might feel restricting at first, but I’ve actually discovered freedom in formation. That may have sounded paradoxical, but rather than feeling trapped in a rigid form, I was surprised to find liberty and relaxation. Much like decluttering the kitchen counter tops helps me to feel inspired to tackle a new recipe, laying out my ideas deciding how to put them together in an outline form gave me the confidence to keep my brainstorm going. I wasn’t afraid to give way to my creativity for fear of digression, but rather embraced it.
So there you have it, a post that was hopefully both on task and easier to read than previous ones. I know I enjoyed the creative process of putting it together and utilizing an outline. I guess my old teachers were actually right that it was important to learn how to put together thesis statements and use those Roman numerals. The rebellion isn’t entirely dead to their way of teaching, as I’ll be sure to impart more than form, but significance and application to my students. I have plenty of work to do though before the time comes, such as my grammar and spelling, not to mention revision and editing. As the old adage goes, the way to eat a dragon is one bite at a time. 🙂
How do you like to write? How do you like to read? Any suggestions or tips you’ve found along your journey? Please share them below in the comments!