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free avery business card template
It may seem like a simple step. Just open a new file and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to have a solid working title and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could accelerate his writing process ~600 percent by producing a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I was repeating the same process for every new article I work . Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s 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 me, I also created a template based on how John constructions his articles, 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 just Markdown files, so go right ahead and save , rename them if you prefer, 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 each gist to observe the plain text version, which you can copy into a new file on your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot point using a few notes about what I need to write in that segment. By the time I’m done, I will 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 to each other well, since I understand the arrangement of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I’d really planned to do a complete rough draft of the post in the early hours, but it took me a few hours just to have the outline done, so that I set the draft off for another day.
On the other hand, I had over 1600 words written in my outline, and a good idea about what each segment would contain and how they’d work together to create a sense of flow in the article. Even though outlining took longer than usual, drafting took less time since I had set myself up for success. Writing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or 2.
It was quite a different procedure to how I normally do the job, and that I had been tempted a couple of times to prevent the extra research or thinking required to complete the outline properly. I frequently put these things off till I’m drafting, and that’s when I must be focused on writing rather. I stuck to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I have actually overhauled my outline and study process by using this template. It is a more productive part of the process now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, also.
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