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3×5 recipe card template
It may look like a simple step. Simply open a new file and begin typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to get a solid working name and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could speed up his writing process ~600 percent by producing an outline first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the same procedure for every single new post I work on. Like any good programmer, I realized repeating the exact same work over and over means that’s probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to create a few templates for myself.
I started by developing a template for the common Ghost blog article structure. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I created a template based on how John structures his articles, and another according to a writer whose work I admire.
For every template I’ve made a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They’re only Markdown documents, so go ahead and save them, rename them if you prefer, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you are ready to write. Click the”view raw” link to the bottom of each list to view the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file on your favourite writing program.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot point using a few notes about what I should write in that section. From the time I am done, I will have a rough sketch of what the final piece will look like. This should make it easier to expand my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow into each other well, because I understand the arrangement of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became more involved. I’d really planned to do a full rough draft of that post in the morning, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so that I put off the draft for a different day.
On the other hand, I had over 1600 words composed in my outline, and a good idea about what each segment would contain and how they’d work together to create a sense of flow in the post. Even though outlining took more than normal, drafting took time since I had set myself up for victory. Writing the draft was only a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling out it into a readable paragraph or 2.
It had been quite a different procedure to how I normally do the job, and that I had been tempted a few times to avoid the additional research or thinking required to fill out the outline correctly. I frequently put these things off until I am drafting, which is when I should be focused on writing instead. I stuck to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I had.
I’ve really coined my outline and study procedure by using this template. It is a more effective part of the procedure now, and makes printing easier. Hopefully it will lead to better function, too.
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