cement board siding crystal lake siding companies park ridge vinyl siding cost kildeer hardie siding johnsburg soffit installation hawthorne woods .. Chicago Drug testing

Dreading the Writing Assignment? Outlines to the Rescue

Writing technical articles is a challenge. There you sit, surrounded by reams of research, notes and interviews. Where do you start?

Remember 5th grade English? You start with an outline.

Outlining has fallen on hard times lately. Mind mapping and brainstorming are much more fashionable. These techniques are great when generating ideas, but once you've got your ideas germinating you've got to outline them. Without an outline, your article will:

  • Be an unstructured mess.

  • Take three times as long to write.

    Don't let this happen to you ? outline. If it's been a while since 5th grade ? or if your "progressive" school didn't stoop to teach you actual English skills ? let me remind you why it's important and how to do it.

    • Outlining keeps you from writing an unstructured mess. Readers, especially American readers, prefer distinct sections in their media. For example, look at American screenplays. Movies invariably have three acts, and anything that doesn't have them is considered an art film. Effective speeches often contain three parts, and readers like three points because the structure makes easier to retain information.

    • Outlining shrinks your writing time by a third to a half. How do you whittle down that pile of research notes and interviews into an article or white paper? You guess it ? outline it. By assigning sections to your notes before you start writing, you'll categorize, simplify and clarify. Not bad before you've even written an introduction. For example, let's say you're writing an article about mirroring. You can divide such an article into several different sections depending on what your client wants to get across. Here are some examples of different outlines:

    • 1) Explanation of mirroring 2) Differences between local and remote mirroring, 3) Contrasting mirroring with other forms of replication, or

    • 1) Define mirroring 2) List environments that require mirroring 3) Decision matrix for assigning different mirroring levels.

    Once you've done your research it's simple to assign pieces to different sections. Believe me, it'll light a fire under your writing time.

    Christine Taylor is president of Keyword Copywriting, which helps marketing and PR pros leverage their relationships with technology clients. E-mail her at chris@keywordcopy.com, call her at 760-249-6071, or check out Keyword's Website at www.keywordcopy.com

    About The Author

    Christine writes technical marketing communications for data storage, networking and pharmaceutical clients, including:

    StoneFly Networks
    Maranti Networks
    Obagi Medical Products

    She specializes in trade journal articles, white papers, press kits and online content. She serves as a contributing editor to Computer Technology Review and acts as editor-in-chief for Storage Inc. and Storage Management Solutions.

    Before moving into technical journalism and marketing she served 20 years in the IT trenches, including systems administration at Avery Dennison's Research and Development division.


    In The News:

  • Writing For The Web: Where To Get Article Ideas

    A friend and I were talking the other day about... Read More

    The Power of Punctuation

    Punctuation, when used creatively, is powerful. Note, however, that when... Read More

    Why We Dont Write Our Books

    In the ten years that I've taught people how to... Read More

    Tips for First Time Authors : 2 Easy Steps to Make Your First Book a Success

    Congratulations on writing your first book. That is quite an... Read More

    Write That Down! Compulsively Collecting Content for Your Writing

    Have you ever read someone else's writing and thought one... Read More

    When I Run Out of Ideas

    I do on occasion run out of ideas for my... Read More

    A Few Keys to Writing Effective Dialogue

    Every writer expends a great deal of creative energy developing... Read More

    Five EASY Ways to Improve Your Business Writing

    Have you ever wondered why some people can make millions... Read More

    Understanding The First Rule Of Writing ? Before You Start The Great American Book

    Chaos and confusion come when established rules and procedures are... Read More


    Self-examination sheds light on a writers motives, goals, and aspirations,... Read More

    The Three Cs of Writing an Excellent all Purpose Headline

    Since the headline is the first contact your readers have... Read More

    Using Metaphor Effectively

    We've all heard a politician on their soapbox, pushing for... Read More

    Looking For Good Copywriter Books?

    If you are looking for copywriter books, you'll want to... Read More

    Have You Plotted Your Story Before Writing It?

    Creative Writing Tips ?The writer, who doesn't have the time... Read More

    Write a Letter, Make a Difference

    Today I took the dog for a walk and realized... Read More

    Best Writing Advice I Ever Got

    I've been in the communications business a long time?over 25... Read More

    On Writing and Poetry: Harry Calhoun in Conversation

    "This is just brilliant. The whole interview is incredible? I'm?... Read More

    Become an Instant Author by Playing Well with Others

    You wrote a tips booklet. Maybe more than one. Oh... Read More

    Boost Your Income With Trade Journals

    Why would anyone want to write for trade journals? Aren't... Read More

    In Your Own Words

    More Tips For New Writers (Part I)Explain in your own... Read More

    The Opportunities As A Freelance Proofreader in the UK

    A UK based freelance proofreader should be able to provide... Read More

    The Prologue - When to Use One, How to Write One

    What is a prologue? When should you use one? Should... Read More

    Every Result is an Asset

    Not long ago, I went to an Internet Marketing Seminar.... Read More

    Creative Writing Tips - Does The Name You Chose Suit Your Character?

    How do you choose a name? Do you put down... Read More

    Realize Your Book Dream In 2005!

    If you haven't realized the success you wanted last year,... Read More

    high bay lighting led lights wholesalers Pete's produce ..
    high bay lighting led lights wholesalers Pete's produce ..