Made in America

How to Use the Signpost Method

We all approach writing differently. Some writers are able to sit down and crank out pages upon pages of copy, while others take their time and methodically work through their content. No matter what type of writer you are, sometimes we all need a small boost and a method to narrow our focus.

If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your writing technique, we’ve written blogs in the past about the snowflake method, the cubing method and the notecard method. Today, our focus is on the signpost method, otherwise known as signposting.

One way to think of signposting is by imagining that you’re driving to a destination that you’ve never been to before. You have the directions in front of you and now it’s time to follow them. As you go on your way, you’re constantly looking for road signs that match your directions. These signposts will help you navigate toward your final destination.

The same principle applies when you’re writing your book using the signpost method. Only now, you’ll outline your ideas by creating placeholders, or signposts, for future content. In these placeholders, you’ll briefly make note of how this idea will fit and where it will take your book. In essence, these signposts are your book’s directional map that will help you narrow your focus and navigate from the beginning to your final destination – your finished book.

Signposting is meant to create context and lay the groundwork for a future idea within your book; it’s not meant to be detail-oriented. Rather, it should include only enough detail so that when you reach that signpost, you understand what type of content you have to write and are not left scratching your head trying to figure out which direction you need to go.

If you’re more of a big-picture type of thinker who likes to map out an overarching plan of attack and not worry so much about the minute details, signposting may be a helpful technique for you. The best part about incorporating techniques into your writing process is that you can take the idea behind that method and mold it to your style. Writing methods aren’t black and white; rather, they’re open to the writer’s interpretation on they can utilize it when writing.

Copyright Dorrance Publishing, 2016

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