Art of Craftsmanship

Academic writing tips and guidelines

Planning: The Cornerstone of Article Writing

Speaking to yourself and jotting down notes is not enough for writers who want to compose interesting and well-written articles. Without planning, many writers can still find themselves in writing limbo full of dead ends and incomplete thoughts. Planning is one of the major cornerstones of great article writing, and it does wonders to your clarity of thoughts and writing speed.

Here are ways to effectively plan a great article:

  • Start with a list. Your list should include everything from your proposed topic to your intended audience. A list will only take a few minutes but will give you everything you need to keep you on track, saving you lots of time when it finally comes down to your writing. Keep your list near you as you begin your research and enter other phases of your writing so that it constantly reminds you of your goal.
  • Draft your thesis or main argument. Your thesis may change after you start your research and have read a few resources, but drafting a thesis or an idea for a main argument narrows your research tremendously. It’s hard to go into any type of writing with to broad a focus. Plan your research around a single clear and concise idea so you minimize the time spent online or in libraries.
  • Write down some sources and places to look. You should write down some ideas of places you want to search as well as some sources you’d like to look up. For example, if I was thinking of writing a paper on increasing population in rural U.S., I’d want to check out some U.S. Census numbers as well as some real-estate and rental stats. A more focused approach would limit my article to a specific area, in which case I would only be interested in census, real estate, and rental statistics for that area.
  • Create a writing schedule. Giving yourself a schedule is always a great idea when taking on any writing task. A schedule provides structure to the amount of time you want to spend on research, drafting, writing and revising. Without a schedule you may spend too much time on the early stages and leave little room for adequate proofreading and revision, which could greatly affect how well your article is received.

Planning not only adds structure to your text but it also brings substance to what you write. You must remember that you aren’t only writing for just yourself but for a large audience. Planning will help you engage your audience more effectively so that your article comes across as pleasant and easy to read.