Writing as a form of cartography

If writers spent more time organising their thoughts than choosing the mot juste, the overall quality of writing would improve overnight. I would rather edit a grammatically incorrect piece of writing from a second-language English speaker than a mish-mash of ideas that has no logical flow or purpose.



Why is it that so few writers (in my experience) know how to structure their thoughts?

Organising your document is like the road map of a journey, helping you to deliver your message by linking the ideas and information together in a natural, logical way.The organisation can be invisible (no headings or numbering) or visible (with headings/numbering).

Yet, students don’t appear to be taught cartography (the science or practice of drawing maps) anymore.

I remember learning how to structure essays at school. In fact, writing outlines probably helped me pass many an exam, even if I didn’t finish writing the answers. Of course, you also need more than a good plan, as I discovered when my history teacher returned my essay on the Tudors with the mention “Well-argued and structured essay worthy of an A, but as you haven’t included a single date or fact, I can only give you a D”. I had drawn an excellent map but forgotten to add any road numbers.




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