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home renovation project plan template
It might seem to be a simple step. Simply open a new file and start typing, right? But it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to have a strong working name and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this earlier, after he found he could accelerate his composing process ~600% by producing a summary 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 fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by creating a template for my most common Ghost blog post structure. Since that structure’s particular to me, I created a template based on how John structures his articles, and another based on a writer whose work I respect.
For each template I’ve created a gist to show you what they look like. They are just 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’re ready to write. Click the”view raw” link to the bottom of every gist 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 with answering each dot point with a few notes about what I should write in that section. By the time I’m done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it easier to enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow into each other well, because I know the structure of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process 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 I set the draft off for a different day.
On the other hand, I had over 1600 words written in my outline, along with a solid idea about what each section would comprise and how they would work together to create a sense of flow from the post. Even though outlining took more than normal, drafting took time since I had set myself up for victory. Writing 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 was quite a different process to the way I normally work, and I had been tempted a few times to avoid the extra research or thinking required to fill out the outline properly. I often put these things off until I am drafting, which is when I should be centered on writing rather. I adhered to it, though, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I’d had.
I’ve really coined my outline and study procedure by using this template. It’s a more productive part of the procedure now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.
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