DUFFEY FAMILY REUNION from family tree book template , image source: duffeyreunion.wordpress.com
family tree book template
It may seem to be a simple step. Simply open a new document and begin typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I like to have a strong working title and a summary before I write a lot of. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could accelerate his composing process ~600% by producing an outline 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 . Like any fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the same work over and over means that is probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to create a few templates for myself.
I began by creating a template for the common Ghost blog article structure. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I also created a template based on how John structures his posts, 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 are 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 are ready to write. Click the”view raw” link to the bottom of each list to view the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file on your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot point using a couple of notes about what I need to write in that segment. From the time I am done, I’ll 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, because I understand the arrangement of the whole piece beforehand.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I had really planned to perform a complete rough draft of that post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours simply to have the outline done, so I set off the draft for a different day.
On the flip side, I’d over 1600 words written in my outline, and a solid idea about what each segment would contain and how they would work together to create a feeling of flow in the post. Though outlining took longer than usual, drafting took time since I had set myself up for success. Writing the draft was only 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 work, and I had been tempted a few times to prevent the extra research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline correctly. I frequently put off these things till I am drafting, which is when I must be focused on writing rather. I stuck to it, though, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I had.
I have actually overhauled my outline and research process by using this template. It’s a more effective part of the process now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, also.
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