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It might look to be an easy step. Just open a new file and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for this to work for me. I like to get a solid working title and a summary before I write a lot of. John’s written about this earlier, after he discovered he could accelerate his composing procedure ~600 percent by creating a summary .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the same procedure for every single new article I work . Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to create a few templates for myself.
I started by developing a template for my most common Ghost blog article structure. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I created a template based on how John constructions his articles, and another based on a writer whose work I respect.
For each template I’ve made a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They’re just Markdown files, 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 each list to observe the plain text version, which you may copy into a new file in your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can begin by answering each dot point with a couple of notes about what I should write in that section. From the time I am done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it simpler to enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow to each other well, since I understand the arrangement of the whole piece beforehand.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I had actually planned to do a full rough draft of the post in the morning, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so I put off the draft for a different day.
On the flip side, I had over 1600 words composed in my outline, along with a good idea of what each segment would contain and how they’d work together to create a feeling of flow in the post. Even though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took time since I had put myself up for victory. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes out of the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or 2.
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 till I’m drafting, and that’s when I should be focused on writing rather. I adhered to it, though, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I’d had.
I have really overhauled my outline and research process by using this template. It is a more productive part of the process now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, also.