Saturday, September 18, 2010


Some writers love them, some writers hate them, but most have an opinion about outlines. My opinion is that although I may not love them, I find them very helpful. I use them, in varying formats, for many reasons.

My students will present their first speeches in about a week, so I’m trying to help them find topics and organize their thoughts. Most students aren’t as passionate about writing as I am, and that’s OK. But if I can help them get through their speeches more easily, I’m pleased. I spend a couple hours every semester going over what outlines are, how to use them and why any writer can benefit from them. I have three main reasons why I believe outlines are useful.

Outlines are useful tools to help writers figure out what they think about a topic, organize those thoughts into an understandable format, and help remember what they wanted to say without going off on unrelated tangents. That’s really all there is. Sounds simple, and it is.

Last semester, in one of the best classes I’ve ever taught, (confirmed by my husband who said “I didn’t hear you complain about anyone all semester!”) one of my students told me that he used to hate outlines, but came to realize that they are useful tools to help him organize his thoughts. YES! I felt like I made a little difference, and I was happy.

Talk to you soon,


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