The Critical Path Method CPM from critical pathway analysis template , image source: www.project-management-skills.com
critical pathway analysis template
It may seem 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 a summary before I write too much. John’s written about this earlier, after he discovered he could accelerate his writing process ~600 percent by producing a summary .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I was repeating the exact same procedure for every single new post I work . Like any fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s probably a good chance for automation.
So I decided to create a few templates for myself.
I started by developing a template for my common Ghost blog article structure. Since that structure’s particular to me, I created a template based on how John structures his articles, and another based on a writer whose work I respect.
For each template I’ve made a gist to show you 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 are ready to write. Click on the”view raw” link on the bottom of each list to view the plain text version, which you can copy into a new file in your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can begin with answering each dot point with a few notes about what I should write in that segment. By the time I’m 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 cause them to flow into each other well, since I know the structure of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I found that my summarizing procedure became more involved. I’d actually planned to perform a complete rough draft of the post in the morning, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so I set off the draft for another day.
On the other hand, I had over 1600 words composed in my outline, along with a good idea of what each segment would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow in the post. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took less time since I’d set myself up for success. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling out it into a readable paragraph or 2.
It was quite a different procedure to how I normally work, and I was tempted a few times to prevent the extra research or thinking necessary to complete the outline properly. I frequently put these things off till I am drafting, and that’s when I should be centered on writing rather. I adhered 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 process by using this template. It is a more effective part of my procedure now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better work, also.
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