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new years eve invitations template
It may look like a simple step. Just open a new document and start typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to have a solid working name and a summary before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could speed up his writing procedure ~600% by creating an outline .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I was repeating the exact same procedure for every new post I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised 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 arrangement. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John structures his posts, and another based on a writer whose work I respect.
For every template I’ve created a gist to show you what they look like. They’re just Markdown documents, 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 to the bottom of each list to view the plain text version, which you may copy into a new file in your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot line using a couple of notes about what I should write in that section. By 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 into fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow into each other well, 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 actually planned to perform a full rough draft of that post in the morning, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so I set off the draft for a different day.
On the other hand, I’d over 1600 words written in my outline, and a good idea of what each section would comprise and how they’d work together to create a feeling of flow in the post. Though outlining took more than normal, drafting took less time since I’d 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 two.
It had been quite a different process to how I normally work, and that I was tempted a few times to prevent the additional research or thinking required to fill out the outline correctly. I often put off these things till I’m drafting, which is when I must be centered on writing instead. I adhered to it, though, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I had.
I’ve actually overhauled my outline and study process by using this template. It is a more effective part of the procedure now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better function, also.
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