How to Write Better Articles – Outlining Your Ideas

Organize your thoughts for smoother article writing

In previous articles I’ve mentioned keeping a list of all the ideas you come up with so that you can go back and write them when you have time and inspiration. I’ve recently found a new tactic that’s helping me to write better articles.

I used to write down just the titles of the articles I’d think of and nothing else. Sometimes it’s days or even weeks before I can get back to the list and try to write things, and it can get really difficult to remember what I was going to write. It’s especially difficult as my list keeps growing; I currently have a list of 258 unwritten article ideas. Recently, I’ve made a change that’s helping me write more and forget less.

What I’m doing now is not only writing down the title of the article, but jotting down some of the points that I want to cover when I write it. Basically, I’m creating a mini outline for the article. Since I started doing that, I’ve been able to go back and fill in the full content of the article without spending so much time trying to remember what it was that I wanted to say.

For instance, I wanted to write an article on tips for the SIMS 2, but I had to cook dinner. I jotted down a title, and then quickly wrote “navigation, beds, email social, burning kitchen” etc. Those were enough to remind me of what I had wanted to put in the article. Later that night when I sat down and looked at those notes, it took me no time at all to fill in more information and turn it into a full-fledged article. I used the same method for three other articles that day, and when I sat down to write them it came quickly and easily.

I’m also going back now and adding notes to the ideas I have in a document on my computer. I’m using numbered lists and making it much more like an outline. I’ve had trouble making articles out of all the ideas because I only had a title, but now I can go back and add points I want to cover. I keep looking over the list, and adding points to cover as I think of them. Not only is this helping me fill in all those old ideas, it’s actually helping me come up with new ones.

I’m also noticing that making notes on each idea is preventing me from having redundant content in the article. Since I have a list of points to make in the article, I don’t end up accidentally saying the same thing twice because I’m just trying to write it as I think it. The outline is also helping me to make sure I cover everything that’s important in regards to that topic. More than once I’ve written an article, published it, then had a “D’oh!” moment of realizing I’d left out something that I wanted the reader to know.

I plan on making notes on all my ideas from now on. I figure once I have at least 6 points to cover, that should be enough to form a complete article. Any less and it might be hard to make enough content, too much more and it might get too long, but if that happens I can just break it into two articles. I believe that this method will help me to keep things from sitting on my “to be written” list for so long, and I’ll be able to get my content out to the world before I forget it. Try doing this with your list of ideas, and hopefully it will help you write better articles and keep your creativity flowing.


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