“J&B’s Importance of Creating Outlines” The Ancient Greek word “praxis” refers to the process that helps us realize a lesson or skill. Before actually writing their essay, most students are trapped in limbo, unsure whether to research or write, jot down thoughts, or dive headfirst into their essays. The goal of J&B’s outlines is to eliminate writer’s limbo and provide students with everything they need to write the essay before they actually begin their first draft: this is our praxis. Because we believe that behind every organized essay is a strong, balanced outline, J&B’s essay consulting process is rooted in the importance of creating detailed outlines that provide students with the research, scholarly sources, structural framework, and sample sentences essential to writing a cohesive essay. By sharing our process, we open it up to our readers to better understand the value of a good outline.Step One: The Lecture. In addition to providing students with an in-depth outline, J&B holds an initial lecture period with students where a J&B advisor engages the student in a forty-five-minute presentation and discussion. During this stage, J&B introduces the client to the context, implications, and key themes of their topic so that when students receive their outline, they are knowledgeable and fully equipped to take advantage of its detailed content.Step Two: Reading. Before writing, we recommend reading first. A J&B outline begins with up to three days of pure research and note-taking, where we carefully gather journal articles, dissertations, research papers, reports, or any reputable sources to inform ourselves before we begin the outlining process. We save and cite direct quotes, write down any initial thoughts, and narrow down the most relevant sources to carry with us to the next steps.Step Three: The Map. A great outline is a road map for writers. At this stage, J&B breaks the essay down into subsections to help the student better understand what goes where and why. After developing a maximum word count, J&B splits each subsection of the outline down by word count, providing students with a better understanding of exactly how much content to place in the introduction, body paragraphs, and concluding sections. Once we know roughly where to go, we can make the “map” more detailed.Step Four: The Paragraphs. Adding scholarly sources is one thing, using them to develop an argument is another. At this point in the outlining process, J&B inserts the most relevant scholarly sources into the “map” and provides sample analyses that give students a better idea of how to use the source to defend their thesis. J&B also offers sample topic sentences and sample concluding sentences to create a sentence-by-sentence breakdown of each paragraph. These sample paragraphs are the heart of a J&B outline.Step Five: The Citations. No good outline is complete without citations. After carefully checking the content, analyses, and flow of the outline, J&B creates a “Works Cited” page that cites every single source used in the outline. If students choose to use the sample sources from the outline in their essay, they can then use the outline’s citations to guide the “Works Cited” page of their first draft. It is essential to realize that although highly detailed, a J&B outline is also flexible, and can offer students a basic understanding of how to organize content, claims, and analyses. No outline should be set in stone. Whether using a J&B-crafted outline or creating one of your own, we believe that your outline is the blueprint of your essay—the more detailed it is, the more you can expand your ideas as they develop. And the stronger grasp you have on your content, structure, and claims, the better equipped you are to write your essay. An outline is your praxis, your opportunity to write with the support of a well-informed guide. And the better curated the outline, the less time you spend in writer’s limbo.