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free weekly schedule template
It may seem to be a simple step. Simply open a new document and start typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to get 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 composing process ~600% by producing a summary .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I was repeating the same procedure for every single new post I work on. Like any fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the same work over and over means that’s probably a good chance for automation.
So I decided to create a few templates for myself.
I started by creating a template for the common Ghost blog article structure. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I created a template based on how John structures his posts, and another based on a writer whose work I respect.
For every template I’ve created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are just Markdown documents, so go ahead and save them, 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 to the bottom of every gist to observe the plain text version, which you may copy to a new file on your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot line using a couple of notes about what I need to write in that section. By the time I’m done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the final piece will look like. This should make it easier to expand my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow to each other well, since I understand the structure of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my summarizing procedure became much more involved. I’d actually planned to do a complete rough draft of that post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so that I put the draft off for another day.
On the flip side, I had over 1600 words written in my outline, and a good idea of what each segment would contain and how they’d work together to create a sense of flow from the article. Even though outlining took more than normal, drafting took time because I had put myself up for success. Composing the draft was just 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 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 often put these things off until I am drafting, and that’s when I should be centered on writing rather. I stuck to it, however, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I have really coined my outline and research procedure by using this template. It is a more effective part of my procedure now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, also.
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