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microsoft word lined paper template
It might look like a simple step. Just open a new document and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to have a strong working name and a summary before I write a lot of. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could speed up his writing process ~600% by producing an outline .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I was repeating the same procedure for every new post I work on. Like any fantastic programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and over means that is probably a fantastic chance for automation.
So I decided to create some templates for myself.
I started by creating a template for my common Ghost blog post arrangement. 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 every template I’ve created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are only Markdown documents, so go ahead and save , rename them if you prefer, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you’re ready to compose. 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 in your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot point with a couple of notes about what I should write in that section. From the time I’m done, I will have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it simpler to expand my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow into each other nicely, since I understand the structure of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I’d really planned to do a full rough draft of that post in the morning, but it took me a couple of hours simply to have the outline done, so that I put the draft off for a different day.
On the other hand, I had over 1600 words written in my outline, and a solid idea about what each segment would contain and how they would work together to create a feeling of flow in the article. Even though outlining took more than normal, drafting took time since I’d put myself up for victory. 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 had been quite a different process to how I normally work, and that I had been tempted a few times to avoid the additional research or thinking necessary to complete the outline correctly. I frequently put these things off until I’m drafting, which is when I should be centered on writing rather. I adhered to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I had.
I’ve really overhauled my outline and research process by applying this template. It’s a more productive part of my procedure now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.
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