Setting It Up!

Posted by in Writing

When it comes to writing papers, often one of the most challenging aspects is not the actual writing portion but actually getting it started. In this blog I’m going to talk about practical and applicable ideas to successfully understand, organize, and start a paper.

Many people often mistake starting with an outline as the first step. However, prior to this you need to be able to fully understand the assignment and its requirements.  If you are too rushed to get a paper out of the way, you could easily make mistakes and consequently cause your grade to suffer. In college, professors beg for students to ask questions. Do not hesitate to double check for clarification. Then, once you are sure you know what the assignment is about, the next important step is brainstorming. Again this is before forming an outline. Brainstorming involves mentally prepare yourself for how you want to go about doing the assignment, as well as coming up with some general ideas for your topic. While brainstorming, form a timeline with the start date and due date. This will help prevent you from procrastinating, as well as help break down the project into manageable parts.

Now you’ve re-read the assignment, brainstormed, and planned how to best tackle the assignment. It is finally time to outline. The purpose of outlining is not typically for the professor or for a grade (though sometimes it is required), but mainly to organize your thoughts and ideas for the paper. By making an outline, you will leave less room to forget important details or concepts the professor is looking for. As you form your outline, have the mindset that the more detailed the outline, the freer flowing and organized the paper will be. However something you need to watch out for, that often goes against a writer, is forgetting to follow the outline. After spending so much time forming a detailed guide to your paper, be sure to use this map as a key to your success.

Now you’ve brainstormed, outlined, and are officially ready to start! But here we are yet again at the toughest part of a paper: actually starting it. The introduction of a paper can sometimes make it or break it, so proceed with great care. It often depends on the rubric and type of paper you intend to write, but typically the introduction should introduce your topic and include why the topic is important or some background info followed by a strong statement about the concept of the entire paper: your thesis

The point of this blog is to help you know how to proactively organize and start your papers. By following these general guidelines, you will avoid many problems and hopefully gain a better grasp of the importance in understanding what your professor wants, brainstorming, creating and following an outlining, and the introduction paragraph. Make these steps second nature and you will come out with a well-developed paper.

Outline for writing this blog:

I. First step in writing papers

            a. Be sure to completely understand the assignment and double check for clarification if needed.

                      i. Grade could suffer if it is unclear.

                      ii. Ask teacher questions

            b. Brainstorm

                      i. Introduce the concept

                                1.  Mentally preparing

                                2.  General topic ideas

           c.  Have a general game plan for attacking the assignment

                       i.  Form timeline from start date to due date

                              1.  Helps stop procrastination

                              2.  Breaks up the project into manageable parts

II.  Form an outline

          a.  Explain why this it is important and how this is not the actual first step

                      i. Mainly for the writer to organize thoughts

                             1. Not to turn in for a grade

                     ii. Will help make sure all important concepts are covered

        b.  Be sure to follow the outline

                      i. Road map to awesome paper

III. Starting the paper

       a. Introduction paragraph

                      i. Importance of opening paragraph

                           1.  Introducing your topic

                           2.  Share background info of topic

                     ii. Leads up to the thesis

IV. Bringing it all together

       a.  The point of this blog

                     i. To help students set up their paper, not write or edit it