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Spending any more time than this puts you at a point of diminishing returns. If you find that you need more info after you start writing, you can always do more research.The goal of your initial research session is to give you just enough material to start writing.
I never created an outline with bullets and numbers and letters before writing the paper.
I always just made one up afterwards because I was to turn one in with the final paper.
The flat outline works because it mirrors the writing process.
No one sits down to write with a perfect idea of what they’re going to say.
Get into the library or database, find your sources, take your notes, and then get to writing.“It’s impossible to figure out every detail of your argument before you sit down, look at your sources, and actually try to write.
Most students abandon their hierarchical outline soon after their fingers hit the keyboard.”– Cal Newport, “How to Use a Flat Outline to Write Outstanding Papers, Fast”Ever since I learned the traditional method of outlining papers in 8th grade, I felt the system was broken.This let me spend more time on things that I enjoyed, such as writing for this blog and taking long walks through the woods. The ultimate waste of time when writing a paper is to write something that doesn’t even answer the question the professor is asking.Today, I’m going to share this process so that you too can write papers more quickly (without a decrease in the quality of your writing). Don’t be afraid to ask the professor to explain any part of the assignment that’s unclear. Even as someone who basically writes papers for a living these days (like this article), I still viewed every college paper with a tinge of dread.After all, writing a paper isn’t like working math problems or reading a chapter of a book.As Cal Newport explains, it’s called a flat outline.In Cal’s words, the flat outline works as follows: Isn’t this so much better?Demonstrating this level of engagement with your assignments can only boost your grade.Once you understand the assignment, you need to start researching. If you’re not careful, research can be one of the best ways to procrastinate.You discover what you’re going to say through the process of writing.The flat outline gives you just enough structure to overcome the dreaded “blank canvas” while still leaving room for discovery.