Writing Checklist: How to Create and Use One (+Free Template)
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A writing checklist is a great way to become a better writer by helping you organize your ideas, revise and proofread your content and improve your writing style.
Writing is one of the most creative activities there. Yet, it’s not really doable unless you keep yourself organized, at least to some point.
There are so many parts of writing process: Brainstorming, structuring, proofreading,… How do you make sure you’ve got all of that handles?
You use a writing checklist! In this article:
Types of Writing Checklists
What is a Writing Checklist?
A writing checklist is a list of all the steps and criteria you need to take into account when writing an article or an essay.
Writing checklists may vary depending on the paper (i.e. a digital article, an essay, a research paper, an argument, etc.) and the writer (e.g. students may have different checklists based on their grades, journalists may have a unique checklist based on their research and style, blogger’s checklist should include digital visibility components, etc.)
Our writing checklist template targets all of those types and variations making it a more or less universal tool.
Apart from keeping your content higher-quality, writing process checklists help you improve your writing skills and overcome writer’s block.
What is a Revision Checklist?
A revision checklist helps a write to come up with the final scope of the article. Basically, it takes you from writing the first draft to creating your final article.
In many cases, revision checklist may help you focus on one of your arguments and create a series of articles based on all kinds of extra points you are making in your final draft.
What is a Proofreading Checklist?
A proofreading checklist gives the outline of all things you need to check to ensure your final article is grammatically correct and flows well.
For most types of writing, the proofreading checklist contains language-related errors and formatting errors. Language-related errors include grammatical errors, syntax errors, proper punctuation, readability aspects and many other.
You can easily put together a writing checklist using Zenkit.
Zenkit is a multi-feature to-do list and productivity platform that has some solid features including mindmap building, drag-and-drop functionality and easy-to-use interactive interface. Here’s my own writing checklist I have built using Zenkit:
You can also play with the view settings. Instead of a list, you can use this interactive drag-and-drop interface:
Other possible layouts are a table and the calendar.
Zenkit has a nice free plan (which is what I am using).
[Disclaimer: In case you choose to upgrade to Zenkit PRO features, we may be paid a commission. But again their free plan is pretty cool, so you may never need to upgrade.]
All of the types of checklists (writing, revision and proofreading) can be combined in one, which is what we did when putting one together for you:
Go ahead and make yourself a copy of our universal writing checklist template that includes research, structuring, putting ideas together in a coherent way, using copyright-free images, proofreading and more.
The checklist contains resources (in the footnotes) which you can use to check different parts of your writing. It’s pretty minimal (clutter-free) to prevent you from getting overwhelmed.
You can continue using your web-based copy in Google Docs, print the checklist or use the steps to create your own writing checklist using Zenkit.
Once you have your own copy, you can edit it to add steps you use in your own writing and revision process. You can even download it as PDF by going:
File -> Download as -> PDF document
From there, you can print as many copies as you want and check off tasks as you proceed with your writing progress. Using the PDF file, you can also print out a handout to give away to your students.
If you choose to use the web-based copy, the checklist is interactive. Simply make a new copy for every writing assignment you are doing and check every box to mark it complete.
To mark steps complete:
- Write-click on each box
- Choose √ icon:
This way you will be monitoring your writing progress.
This checklist contains the following good writing strategies:
- Coming up with more new ideas and topic selection (prewriting process)
- Research and drafting process (creating your rough draft)
- Organizing ideas
- Thesis statement (formulating your main point)
- Clear and concise paragraph and sentence structure
- Avoiding plagiarism
- Word choice
- Spelling and Grammar check
- Paraphrasing (to stick to shorter words and phrases)
- Effective writing criteria
- Outlining your statements and summarizing
- Avoiding passive voice
- Quotation and citing
- Revising and editing
- Content flow (reorganize your ideas)
- Writing an effective conclusion
- Keeping your readers engaged
How to Use a Free Writing Checklist or Create Your Own Now
- Make yourself a copy of our universal writing checklist template
- Edit your checklist if you find that your writing process includes more steps that are listed
- Start writing your article or your paper and keep referencing the checklist to keep yourself organized
- Check off completed tasks as you go
Overall checklists are useful for all kinds of writing assignments including business writing, technical writing, blog writing (as well as other types of online writing), academic writing, research writing, professional writing, argumentative writing, report writing, etc.
Using the checklist you’ll learn how to write higher-quality content, as well as provide well-grounded critique or feedback on other people’s writing. Brainstorm unique angles, revise your content better and become a professional writer.
Do you have your own writing resources and checklists you’d like to share? Please post them in the comments!
Don’t forget to check more of our Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets tips and templates: