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It may look to be an easy step. Just open a new document and start typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to have a solid working name and a summary before I write a lot of. John’s written about this before, after he found he could speed up his writing procedure ~600 percent by creating a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I was repeating the exact same process for every new post I work . Like any fantastic programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and above means that is probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make some templates for myself.
I started by developing a template for the common Ghost blog post structure. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John constructions his posts, and another based on a writer whose work I admire.
For each template I’ve created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are just Markdown files, so go right ahead and save , rename them if you like, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you’re ready to write. Click the”view raw” link on the bottom of each gist to observe the plain text version, which you may copy into a new file in your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can begin by answering each dot point with a couple of notes about what I should write in that section. From the time I am done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it simpler to enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow into each other nicely, since I understand the arrangement of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I had actually planned to do a full rough draft of that post in the early hours, but it took me a few hours simply to get the outline done, so that I put the draft off for another day.
On the flip side, I had over 1600 words written in my outline, and a solid idea of what each section would comprise and how they would work together to create a sense of flow from the article. Though outlining took more than normal, drafting took less time since I had set myself up for victory. Writing the draft was only a matter of taking each chunk of notes out of the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or 2.
It was quite a different procedure to the way I normally work, and that I was tempted a couple of times to prevent the extra research or thinking required to fill out the outline properly. I frequently put these things off until I am drafting, and that’s when I must be focused on writing instead. I adhered to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I’ve actually coined my outline and study procedure by using this template. It is a more productive part of the procedure now and makes printing easier. Hopefully it will lead to better function, too.