Questions to ask yourself to help organize your writing

Questions to ask yourself to help organize your writing

We may each approach writing in our unique ways, but no matter what, some logical thinking needs to be behind the final product.

We each approach writing in our own way. You might start off by scratching out a rough outline or jotting down a list of the points you want to touch upon. Or you might prefer a more free-flow approach and just start typing to see what comes out.

I would recommend starting with some kind of notes (for example, bullet points jotted down on a piece of paper) and a rough structure. Sometimes, you’re lucky and the structure is already given to you (for example, if you’re writing an academic paper).

But regardless of whether you start with the structure already in mind or the document grows organically, you still need to go back at some point and think through the logic of the piece.

What to ask yourself

Here are some things you might ask yourself when you’re reviewing your work:

  • What is my main point? What is my message? Does it come across clearly?
  • Does the order of ideas make sense? Does it flow?
  • Are there any gaping contradictions or holes? (That may be OK but should be explicitly acknowledged in writing. Otherwise, it can damage your credibility.)
  • Is there anything I can cut out (because it’s distracting or not so important or confusing)?

As you ask yourself these questions, go ahead and reshuffle your content. Group ideas together. Fill in the gaps.

Sometimes you may find that your main point has wandered from the original intent. That “wandering” might be a sign that you didn’t have enough material to make the original point, in which case you might want to drop it.

Read through it again.

If you can, set the article aside for a while—give the idea a chance to ripen. (Or throw it out as unfeasible.)

No matter your writing style or approach to writing, taking a step back and reviewing your work will improve your final product.

(And in fact, that’s what editors like myself are here for too!)

Get in touch to discuss whether we might be a good fit for your scholarly or international development writing project!

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  1. Pingback: Key to clearer writing: Know what you want to say | The Clarity Editor

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