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chili cook off template
It might seem to be an easy step. Just open a new file and start typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to have a strong working title and a summary before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he found he could speed up his composing process ~600 percent by producing a summary .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I had been repeating the same process for every new article I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and over means that is probably a good chance for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by creating 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 based on a writer whose work I admire.
For each template I’ve made 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 on the”view raw” link to the bottom of each list to observe the plain text version, which you may copy to a new file in your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot line with a couple of notes about what I should write in that segment. From the time I’m done, I will have a rough sketch of what the final piece will look like. This should make it easier to enlarge my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow into each other nicely, since I know the structure of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my summarizing procedure became more involved. I had actually planned to perform a complete rough draft of that post in the morning, but it took me a few hours just to get the outline done, so I set the draft off for a different day.
On the flip side, I’d over 1600 words written in my outline, along with a solid idea about 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 time since I had set myself up for victory. Writing 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 had been quite a different process to how I normally do the job, and that I had been tempted a couple of times to prevent the extra research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline correctly. I often put off these things until I am drafting, which is when I should be centered on writing rather. I stuck to it, however, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I had.
I’ve really overhauled my outline and study procedure by using this template. It is a more effective part of my process now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.
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