File Emergency Card from emergency contact card template , image source: en.wikipedia.org
emergency contact card template
It may seem like 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 strong working title and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could speed up his writing procedure ~600 percent by producing a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I was repeating the exact same process for every new post I work on. Like any fantastic programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and over means that is probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I began by developing a template for the most common Ghost blog article structure. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I created a template based on how John constructions his articles, and another according to 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 documents, 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 on the bottom of every list to view the plain text version, which you may copy into a new file in your favorite writing app.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot line using a few notes about what I need to write in that segment. By the time I am done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it easier to enlarge my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow to each other nicely, since I know the structure of the whole piece beforehand.
Using the template, I found that my summarizing procedure became more involved. I had really planned to do a full rough draft of the post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so I put off the draft for another day.
On the other hand, I had over 1600 words composed in my outline, along with a solid idea of what each section would comprise and how they’d work together to create a sense of flow in the post. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took time because I’d set myself up for victory. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes out of the outline and filling out it into a readable paragraph or 2.
It had been quite a different process to the way I normally do the job, and I had been tempted a few times to prevent the additional research or thinking necessary to complete the outline properly. I frequently put off these things till I’m drafting, and that’s when I must be focused on writing rather. I adhered to it, though, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I had.
I have really coined my outline and study process by applying this template. It’s a more effective part of my procedure now and makes printing easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, too.
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