Whether you’re writing a novel, a textbook or a short article for your blog, proper structuring your ideas can certainly make your work go more smoothly. Different techniques will work best for different people, so why not try a few and see what is best for you? Perhaps the combination of the approaches mentioned below will help.
If your mind is full of ideas, you need to get them down fast, so you don’t forget anything interesting! Get a large piece of paper and write down everything that comes to mind with regards to your writing project. Don’t worry about details or even about spelling. This is all about ideas. A single word or short phrase will do. Space the ideas out on your paper so you can add to them. This is a very useful tool if you’re working on a project with others as you can jot down your thoughts and ideas as you talk through the work.
A brainstorm bubble diagram can be created during a brainstorming session or you can create one afterwards using the notes you gathered during brainstorming. When you have the concepts you want to write about, write down each idea and draw a bubble around it. This keeps each concept separate and it allows you to create the links between them. Draw lines between related concepts and you’ll find an order for creating your final piece of work. This really helps to create a flow for your work when you understand the relationship between the concepts you wish to discuss.
When you’ve got a piece of paper full of ideas from a brainstorming session, or if you’ve got a pocket full of scraps of notes, get them all together and summarize them all into a list of bullet points. Seeing your ideas condensed like this can really help you to get organized. You can then rearrange your bullet points into the best order and have a great guideline for writing your article.
Flowcharts are very useful for bringing your concepts together. Learning about the intricacies of flowcharts is time well invested. All written work has a flow and an order, and it can be very useful to create a chart to organize the flow of your document and will help you in the writing process. You’ll find plenty of guides to creating flow charts online and many books have been written on the subject too.
Intro, Body and Conclusion
You are probably familiar with this approach from writing school essays, but don’t dismiss it. It’s not just formal writing that can benefit from being divided up into these three segments. Think about which of your ideas fit best within each area and make a note of them. This process is a good natural progression from a bullet point list.
Word webs are similar to brainstorm bubbles and are a popular method of gathering all your information in one place, so you can see the outline of your work at a glance. Write the concept name or main theme in the centre of a piece of paper. Your ideas and relevant points can then be written around the centre. It’s a good idea to write the most important points closer to the centre, this can give you a guideline later as to how much time to spend writing about each point.
Mind maps are similar to word webs, but with more focus on visuals. Again, the main concept features in the centre of the map, with linked ideas radiating from the central point, attached the centre by a line. The use of colour, drawings and diagrams is common with mind maps, over time you’ll devise your own style of mind mapping. Search online for examples and you’ll find plenty of examples to inspire you.
If you’re writing an article with information taken from many sources, it can be overwhelming. It’s easy to forget a point you’ve read if you’re looking at a lot of information. A good way to get organized is to take a piece of paper (or open a separate digital document) for each area of your article. As you read through your source materials, add notes to each page. This is in easy way to compartmentalize all your data. When it comes to writing your document, everything is in order for you.
Whichever techniques you use, structuring the ideas is always the key to a good piece of written work. It should make the whole process easier and help prevent the dreaded writer’s block!