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Writing Tip of the Week: Pre-writing--Creating an Outline
When you begin the writing process but have no idea where to start, begin the writing process with an outline, or in other words a skeleton, of what you are going to be talking about. By doing this you are getting all the ideas out on paper before you begin writing so that you have a guide to follow step by step when you actually begin to start typing. When doing your pre-writing outline, always have in mind the topic that you are writing about. Think about the assignment/topic and begin to come up with subcategories underneath that topic that will eventually become the body paragraphs.
Once you have come up with the topic that you are going to talk about, begin thinking of at least three subcategories that you are going to discuss under the umbrella of your topic. Once you have outlined at least three subcategories that are going to become your three main body paragraphs, start writing out small details of those subcategories using bullet points. (Now, having three main body paragraphs/subcategories will not necessarily always be the case, of course. This is just an example. The number of sub points depends on the particular writing assignment—the purpose and audience of your paper.)
After you have finished jotting down subcategory details, start to try and brainstorm how you would end your paper with the conclusion. You do not always have to do this in the skeleton/outline just yet, but if you have a strong idea about how to wrap up the paper with a “punch,” then you are welcome to go ahead and record how you would end your paper.