By: HR Division
PLANNING can save time, reduce rewriting, and help you get your message across!
If you usually just jump in when you have a major writing project, think about using some of these planning techniques next time to see if it makes your writing easier. First, we’ll give you the basics of mind mapping and then we’ll remind you about basic outlining techniques.
If you’re like most people with a writing assignment, you start at the top of the page or top of the screen and just start writing! Then sometimes you get halfway through a paper, report, memo, etc., and realize that you should have said something else first. You go back up and insert a new paragraph or sentence and then realize that it sounds funny so you have to rewrite the original lead-in. This can go on and on — sometimes your final result gets confusing or disorganized — but you may be sick of it at that point and just send it off as is!
Do you ever find yourself staring at a blank screen or blank piece of paper and just can’t get started? You go get a cup of coffee. Or you check your e-mail, or make a phone call — anything to avoid that blank screen waiting for you to SAY SOMETHING!
What if you could take five minutes to organize your thoughts, give your writer’s block a jump start, and save yourself a lot of headaches in the future? That’s what mind mapping is all about! There are several kinds of mind mapping, but we’ll focus on using it as a jump-start for your writing. First take a look at a couple of examples to see what we mean by mind mapping. The examples are print versions, but you can certainly take out some unlined paper and a pencil and get the same results. As a matter of fact, using paper and pencil (with some colored pens or highlighters to organize and group similar items) probably works best for this technique.
Next, we’ll remind you about some basic outlining techniques.
You probably remember how to do an outline, but you probably don’t often take the time to do one!
If the mind mapping technique does not appeal to you, think about taking a few minutes to complete a rough outline before you jump in to important writing tasks. With the great cut-and-paste, automatic outlining, and other features available to us when we write using our computer, it’s a lot less painful than it used to be (for those of us who learned to outline with pencil and paper).
If you need to review outlining techniques, you may access one or more of the online references listed below.
Just remember that some up-front planning (outlining or mind mapping) will save you time and make your writing more effective in the long run! Try one of the techniques the next time you have a large writing project and see if you agree.Source: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)