Writing Outlines & the Computer Age

Writing has always been an enjoyment of mine. And, the other night I was thinking about how things have changed since the days when I first learned to write. This blog post will be about writing outlines in the technological age. Or, more appropriately, how the computer can be used to write outlines.

Background. First, a little Background information may be needed on outlines. Outlines usually consist of Roman numerals, numbers, capital letters, and lower case letters. (At least the alphanumeric style does). Some writers prefer this “back to basics” method – even in today’s modern era. Whatever floats your boat, is the key to success. Outlines are known to help the writer organize their thoughts.

Computers. There are a variety of software programs available to assist the writer with their project. Now, we turn on the computer, go into a Word program and start in. Normally, we go into our My Documents – or some such similar category. Once in here, there are options we can take to develop our outline:

Folders. We can set up folders, similar to a topic area (the generalized category). In traditional outlines, this would be the Roman numeral. For instance, “World of Widgets”. You find widgets simply fascinating and want to spread the word about how marvelous they are. So, you have decided to write a book about them.

Sub-folders. We can set up another folder, within the topic folder, for subjects. This would be the traditional Capital letter on a written outline. For instance, “Widget A”, “Widget B”, and “Widget C” would each have their own sub-folder.

Documents. It’s easy to think of documents as just papers. However, when relating to a computerized outline, documents are the chapters. Each document will have a title that we saved it under. When saving the document/chapter, we will save it in the appropriate sub-folder. This section is the small letters, or sub-topic area of our traditional outline. As an example, if we’re writing about the benefits of Widget A, you’d save the document as “Benefits Of” in the sub-folder “Widget A”.

Computers can help your writing process. Just make certain you save everything to a CD as you progress. 🙂