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cereal box design template
It may seem to be an easy step. Just open a new file and begin typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for this to work for me. I like to get a solid working title and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this earlier, after he found he could speed up his composing process ~600 percent by creating a summary .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I had been repeating the same process for every single new post I work on. Like any good programmer, I realized repeating the exact same work over and over means that is probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make some templates for myself.
I started by creating a template for my most common Ghost blog post structure. Since that arrangement’s particular to mepersonally, I also created a template based on how John constructions his posts, and another according to a writer whose work I respect.
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 them, rename them if you prefer, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you’re ready to write. Click the”view raw” link to the bottom of each list to observe the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file on your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot point with a couple of notes about what I need to write in that section. From the time I’m done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it easier to enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow to each other nicely, since I understand the arrangement of the entire piece beforehand.
Using the template, I found that my summarizing procedure became much more involved. I had really planned to perform a complete 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 set the draft off for a different day.
On the flip side, 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 feeling of flow from the post. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took less time since I had put myself up for victory. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes out of the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or two.
It was quite a different procedure to the way I normally work, and I had been tempted a few times to avoid the additional research or thinking necessary to complete the outline properly. I often put off these things until I am drafting, and that’s when I should be focused on writing instead. I stuck to it, though, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I’ve actually overhauled my outline and study process by applying this template. It’s a more effective part of the process now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better function, too.
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