Video: Moving From Outline to Draft

At this point in the writing process, you’ll have accomplished quite a lot of work. It may feel pretty scattered across notes you’ve made, sources you’ve pulled together, and different trains of thought in your head. That’s fine!

You’ll have some sort of outline at this point: some plan for what sections you’ll need, and an idea of theirĀ order. This may be a very formal Roman numeral outline, a more informal list of ideas, a mind map, a Powerpoint outline–whatever is comfortable for you.

The next step is a big one: starting to flesh out those pieces of an outline into a substantial essay draft.

Consider this guidance from an English professor. She’s talking about a specific essay assignment for her students, but the general concepts of the video apply to all writing situations. Professor Pell’s best advice is to NOT write the sections of your paper in order. Instead, take advantage of the outline to skip around to the parts that are easiest to develop first, and that will have the biggest impact of your paper overall.

While you’ll have different sections of your paper, the concept still applies. Decide for yourself what order will be most effective to write in, and free yourself up to put off the difficult parts until last!