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It might seem like a simple step. Just open a new file and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to have a solid working title and an outline before I write a lot of. John’s written about this earlier, after he found he could accelerate his writing procedure ~600% by creating a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I had been repeating the same process for every single new article I work . Like any fantastic programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s probably a fantastic chance for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I began by developing a template for the most common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that arrangement’s particular to mepersonally, I created a template based on how John constructions his posts, and another according to a writer whose work I respect.
For each template I’ve created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are just 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 every list to view the plain text version, which you may copy to a new file on your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot line with a couple of notes about what I need to write in that segment. From the time I am done, I will 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 make them flow into each other nicely, because I understand the structure of the entire piece beforehand.
Using the template, I found that my outlining process became more involved. I’d actually planned to perform a complete rough draft of that post in the morning, but it took me a few hours simply to get the outline done, so I put off the draft for another day.
On the other hand, I’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, and a good idea of what each section would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow in the post. Though outlining took longer than usual, drafting took less time since I had put myself up for success. Writing the draft was only a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling out it into a readable paragraph or two.
It had been quite a different procedure to how I normally do the job, and that I was tempted a couple of times to prevent the additional research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline correctly. I often put off these things until I’m drafting, and that’s when I should be centered on writing instead. I stuck to it, though, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I’d had.
I’ve actually coined my outline and study process by using this template. It is a more productive part of the process now and makes printing easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.