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new year flyers template
It may look like a simple step. Just open a new document and begin typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to have a strong working name and an outline before I write a lot of. John’s written about this earlier, after he discovered he could accelerate his writing procedure ~600% by creating an outline .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I was repeating the same procedure for every single new article I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and above means that is probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by developing a template for the common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that arrangement’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 made a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are just Markdown files, so go right 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 on the”view raw” link on the bottom of each list to observe the plain text version, which you may copy to a new file on your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can begin by answering each dot point with a few notes about what I need to 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 make them flow to each other nicely, because I know the arrangement of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my summarizing procedure became much more involved. I had really planned to do a complete 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’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, along with a solid idea about what each segment would comprise and how they would work together to create a feeling of flow in the article. Even though outlining took more than usual, drafting took time since I’d set 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 two.
It was quite a different process to the way I normally work, and I had been tempted a couple of times to avoid the additional research or thinking necessary to complete the outline properly. I frequently put off these things till I am drafting, and that’s when I should be centered on writing instead. I stuck to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I had.
I have actually coined my outline and research procedure by applying this template. It is a more productive part of the process now, and makes printing easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better work, too.