Some people thrive on creative chaos. They can just plop down in front of a computer and type out an entire perfectly thought-out article without making even the simplest outline. There’re not many of them, to be honest. If you’re not one of these folks and need some planning before you sit down to do your writing, you might check out the note card outlining method.
It’s useful and simple. It works for writing a blog post, a research paper, or even a novel. It’ll help you put your thoughts in order no matter what the length, and the complexity, of the piece you’re working on.
So, how can note cards (otherwise known as index cards or flash cards) be used for outlining?
Grab note cards and some pens. You’ll also need a flat space or a pinboard. If hand-writing is not your thing, you may opt for a digital outlining tool.
Choose your color-coding scheme. You may go for different colors for quotes, main points or plot points, possible research questions. Whatever floats your boat.
If you’re writing a simple piece and don’t think a color code is needed, you may skip this step altogether.
Write down your main points, quotes, etc. If you’re working with secondary sources, you can summarize the referred materials for brevity.
Prepare your outline. After you’re done filling out the note cards, it’s time to put them in order. Think of it as ordering the segment blocks of the text you’re composing. By arranging them, you give your text a structure.
When you’re done, you may pin them to the pinboard, type them to the wall or simply stack them together in the correct order.
Use the cards as an outline for your post. Write a paragraph based around each card and go onto the next one. Need more ideas? Stick in another card. It’s that easy! We love using this little trick to get your thoughts together!
Done writing? Contact us, and we’ll help you with editing your work.