Why You Should Outline Your Blog Posts (+How I Outline Mine)

I can’t even remember when I last wrote a blogging tips post! I know none of you missed them, but they’re back anyways, so…

This time around, I’m talking about something that I find necessary to my writing a decent post. Outlining.

If you’re not outlining your posts, then please explain how you even write a post.

I first started outlining posts this last school year because I didn’t have anything to do, so I decided to to just write down some points I wanted to talk about on a piece of paper. My ‘technique’ if you can even call it that, has changed drastically since then.


WHY YOU SHOULD OUTLINE YOUR POSTS


You don’t stray away from original points

My ideal post is around 300-500 words, but I usually end up writing this 600-800 words because 1. I feel like you should know the tiniest little details (spoiler alert: you don’t) 2. I never stick to the original points I wanted to speak about. I’ve, thankfully, started getting better at this.

When you outline, you can keep your blog post concise and to the point, but also have everything you wanted to originally put in it.

You don’t forget what you wanted to include when you researched/brainstormed

I’ve experienced this multiple times, because I’m a dumb-ass with the memory of a fly.

On a serious note, jotting down information in my outlining has helped tremendously because I usually like to turn off my wifi when I blog (so I don’t get distracted), and I don’t want to have to go and turn it back on to see the price of something, for example.

You end up writing your posts so much faster

I used to take 4-5 hours in total to write and edit my posts, but now I only take around 2 hours (for a regular post like this, discussions take longer). I think this is because I don’t have to stop my ‘creative flow’ (I sound so snobby saying that UGH), to think of what to write. I have everything I need right there, all I need is to type it up in the form of coherent sentences.


HOW I OUTLINE MY POSTS


(This is the simplest way to outline anything. I almost feel dumb showing you

I usually do this on an A5 notebook that I carry to school or my Bullet Journal (I took these on a large notebook to take a good photo…)

  • I write the working title, status (outlined, draft, scheduled, published), and the date I ideally want it to go up (S.D —> scheduled date) on the top of the page.

 

  • If it’s a list post (doesn’t really have to be a list post, it just has to have subtitles/headers), then I write a main bullet for the sub header, and then 1-4 other bullets about it. A (sub)bullet normally ends up being 1-2 sentences for me, but sometimes a bullet represents a whole paragraph, it just depends on the post.

 

  • When I write list posts, I like to either underline or highlight the list items/sub-headers, just so it’s easy to differentiate them from the other points I wrote down.

 

  • If the post is not a list, then it’s super easy and simple to outline. I just write down everything that comes to mind in small phrases. The only problem with this is that I don’t always write in order. I’ll write about subject A then move on to B C D, then write something else for A. This is why they have a lot of arrows in my discussion posts’ outlines.

 

  • Last, but not least, I write down the tags and categories that I’m going to use for the post. (This might be different if you’re using something other than WordPress, because I know they’re called labels in blogger. You’ll just have to check it out yourself)
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