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It might look like a simple step. Just open a new document and begin typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to get a solid working title and an outline before I write a lot of. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could speed up his composing procedure ~600 percent by creating a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I was repeating the exact same procedure for every single new post I work . Like any fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the same work over and above means that is probably a good chance for automation.
So I decided to make some templates for myself.
I began by developing a template for the most common Ghost blog post structure. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I created a template based on how John constructions his posts, and another according to a writer whose work I admire.
For every template I’ve created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They’re only Markdown files, so go ahead and save , rename them if you like, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you’re ready to compose. Click on the”view raw” link to the bottom of every list to view the plain text version, which you may copy into a new file in your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot line with a couple of notes about what I should write in that segment. By the time I am done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the final piece will look like. This should make it simpler to expand my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow to each other nicely, since I understand the arrangement of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I had really planned to perform a full rough draft of that post in the early hours, but it took me a few hours just to get the outline done, so I put off the draft for a different day.
On the flip side, I’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, and a good idea about what each segment would comprise and how they would work together to create a sense of flow in the post. Though outlining took longer than usual, drafting took time since I’d put myself up for success. Composing the draft was only a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or 2.
It had been quite a different process to the way I normally do the job, and that I had been tempted a couple of times to avoid the extra research or thinking necessary to complete the outline correctly. I often put off these things till I’m 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 actually coined my outline and research procedure by applying this template. It is a more productive part of the process now, and makes printing easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, also.