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model comp card template
It may look to be an easy step. Just open a new document and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to get a strong working name and a summary before I write a lot of. John’s written about this before, after he found he could accelerate his composing process ~600% by producing an outline .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I had been repeating the exact same process for every single new article I work on. Like any fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the same work over and above means that is probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by creating a template for the most common Ghost blog post structure. Since that structure’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John structures his articles, and another based on a writer whose work I admire.
For each template I’ve created a gist to show you what they look like. They are only Markdown files, so go right ahead and save , 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 list to observe the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file in your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot point with a few notes about what I need to write in that segment. From the time I’m done, I will have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it easier to expand my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow to each other nicely, because I understand the arrangement of the whole piece beforehand.
Using the template, I found that my summarizing procedure became much more involved. I had actually planned to perform a complete rough draft of the post in the early hours, but it took me a few hours just to have the outline done, so I set 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 section would contain and how they’d work together to create a feeling of flow from the article. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took less time since I’d set myself up for success. Writing 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 two.
It had been quite a different process to the way I normally work, and I was tempted a few times to prevent the extra research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline properly. I often put off these things till I am drafting, and that’s 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’d had.
I’ve actually coined my outline and research process by using this template. It’s a more effective part of my process now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.
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