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free home budget template
It may seem like a simple 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 solid 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 process ~600 percent by producing an outline first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I had been repeating the exact same process for every new article I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and over means that’s probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by developing a template for the most common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John constructions his posts, and another based on a writer whose work I admire.
For every template I’ve made a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They’re only Markdown documents, so go ahead and save them, 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 every gist to observe the plain text version, which you may copy into a new file on your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot line with a couple of notes about what I should write in that segment. From the time I am done, I will have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it easier to expand my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow to each other nicely, because I know the structure of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I had actually planned to perform a full rough draft of the post in the morning, but it took me a few hours simply to have the outline done, so I put the draft off for another day.
On the flip side, I’d over 1600 words written in my outline, and a good idea about what each segment would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow from the article. Though outlining took more than usual, drafting took less time because I’d put myself up for victory. Composing the draft was only a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or two.
It had been quite a different process to the way I normally work, and that I was tempted a couple of times to avoid the extra research or thinking required to fill out the outline correctly. I often put off these things until I am drafting, which is when I should be focused on writing rather. I stuck to it, however, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I’d had.
I’ve really overhauled my outline and study process by using this template. It is a more productive part of my procedure now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, also.
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