Whether you are a business professional writing a detailed memo or an author writing a book, you need a sense of direction.

Ha Jin, an award-winning novelist, says that when he plans a book, he creates an outline that includes the beginning, the chapters, the major scenes, and the end. “It’s like you’re taking a trip. You have to know where you’re going,” he told the Boston Globe. “Sometimes when I get to the end, it has to be changed, but I still need a map to get there.”

It is no different for anyone in business. Good writing requires a map, because not every communication is a rapid-fire text message. Some topics require thought and organization. For topics that are complex and for proposals going to clients, creating a clear path is time well spent.

It’s not enough to have great ideas swirling in your head, because the thoughts themselves have no order. That’s just the way the brain works. To turn our thoughts and ideas into language, you need to establish an order, or the reader will lose patience.