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Writing an Essay Outline: Avoid Beginner's Mistakes

Nobody starts out perfect at anything. Even the world’s most talented artists, singers, engineers and writers only got to that point after years of practice. As a writer who’s just starting out, you should see your essay as needing an outline the same way houses need architectural plans. It makes the writing process simpler because it lets you know where you’ll being going at each step and can show you any mistakes you’re about to make before you commit to writing them in full. Here are a few ways you can avoid some of those mistakes beginners tend to fall into.

Topic Selection

Devote a large amount of your time to proper topic selection. A poorly chosen topic can leave you halfway through your essay realizing that there’s absolutely nothing left to write. This realization is particularly damaging under exam conditions. Where you have absolute freedom in the selection of a topic, chose something that you are passionate about and can also access adequate information about. In a test, just pick the topic you remember the most about.

Gathering Points

When your topic has been selected, move onto the listing of relevant points. Figure out how much research it takes to make each point sturdy. If a point lacks support it needs to be excluded so that the rest of the essay remains strong.

Creating Order

Once you have all your points, figure out how best to order them. Some points will not remain in their original order, others may end up being absorbed into related points so that the essay flows nicely and is appealing to readers.

Looking for Inconsistencies

Your essay outline is almost complete at this point. You should look over the entire thing carefully to ensure that no embarrassing inconsistences have managed to slip in unnoticed. If your thesis statement has already been completed, ensure that your points relate to it easily. If they don’t it’s faster to change the thesis statement to match. This is also a good time to make certain that none of your points directly contradict each other to the point where your essay would appear illogical or poorly researched.

Beginners will make mistakes but the way to become a seasoned writer is through constant practice with perfection as your aim. You may fall short but still become a master.

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