Creating a writing plan before you begin putting words onto a page is a great way to ensure that what you end up with is of high value to your audience. Whether you’re writing an article, an essay, a research paper or a piece of creative writing, it’s always a good idea to plan out your objectives before you begin, to make sure you stay on track.
Writing plans are usually quite straight forward to put together and they can make a lot of difference to the quality of your work. Here’s how to put together an effective writing plan for any type of writing task.
#1: Spend a set amount of time assessing the task at hand
When you’re about to begin writing, make sure that you’ve spent some time really thinking about the task at hand. Dependent on how comprehensive the task is, you might need some time, even an hour or more, to do this effectively.
#2: Work out the parameters of the task
Here are some of the task parameters you will need to consider before you begin writing – create yourself a guide as to how to frame your thoughts and research into the desired format:
- Length: How long is the writing task supposed to be? How essential is this?
- Tone: Is the piece formal, conversational, creative, inflammatory, convincing, soft…etc?
- What’s required: Are there parts of the task you need to pay certain attention to, such as due date, use of certain resources, formatting or other requirements?
- Sources: Where will you find your inspiration or information to complete the task?
- Research: What research is required? How will you do this? How long will it take?
#3: Begin your research
Researching is often the underestimated part of any writing task and when putting together a writing plan you need to think carefully about how you are going to go about gathering the information you’ll need to be successful.
Are you going to need to make a special trip to the library, or to purchase a certain text? Will you need to consult or interview an expert or two, to flesh your writing task out? Think of this during the planning phase and include this in your writing plan well ahead of time.
#4: Develop your “rough structure”
Map out your writing task from beginning to end. This is a great step to undertake for all kinds of writing tasks, even creative writing. “block out” your writing stage by stage and consider adding word lengths to keep yourself on track.
The more rough planning you do before you begin the actual work, the better your finished task will be and the less editing you’ll need to do.
#5: Begin your work
Now that you have all your elements planned out, you can begin your writing. Ideally, this should be the enjoyable part of the task; be creative and don’t be too prescriptive, beyond what you have already mapped out.
Because you have spent time planning, now is the time to let the writing flow if you can – you will be paring this back within the next stage of your journey. Check out Tips on how to Improve your Written Vocabulary: A Time to Get Sharper.
#6: Edit and cut back
There are many great articles out there about how to effectively edit your writing. Grammarly suggests letting your writing rest, reading your writing in a new format (and out aloud), reading backwards and using an online editing tool (for best effect, cross check with several tools if you have to).
Give yourself plenty of time to complete this vital step, as a well edited piece of writing is essential to the finished topic.
#7: Introduction and conclusion
It’s always a good idea to write your introduction and conclusion at the END of your writing task, when everything else is done. If you’ve written them in advance, then make sure you go and check them back to make sure you have captured the essence of what you were trying to say, and have summarized the points of your writing task.
An effective writing plan is the cornerstone of great writing
If you’ll be writing something complex, then consider using custom research papers. A little support can help you polish and hone your work. And remember, plagiarism is a violation of copyright, and is against the law.
When you’re using quotes from other sites, articles and texts, make sure you use citation and clearly indicate the source. Good luck!