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It might look like an easy step. Simply open a new document and begin typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to have a strong working name and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this earlier, after he found he could accelerate his writing procedure ~600% by creating a summary .
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 . Like any fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make some templates for myself.
I began by creating a template for the common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I created a template based on how John constructions his posts, 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’re only Markdown documents, so go ahead and save them, 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 list to observe the plain text version, which you may copy into a new file in your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can begin by answering each dot line using a couple of notes about what I should write in that segment. From the time I’m done, I will have a rough sketch of what the final piece will look like. This should make it easier to expand my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow into each other well, because I know the structure of the whole piece beforehand.
Using the template, I discovered that my summarizing procedure became much more involved. I had really planned to do a full rough draft of the post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours just to get the outline done, so I put off the draft for a different day.
On the flip side, I had over 1600 words written 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 post. Though outlining took more than usual, drafting took time since I’d set myself up for victory. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling out it into a readable paragraph or two.
It was quite a different procedure to how I normally do the job, and I had been tempted a couple of times to avoid the extra research or thinking necessary to complete the outline properly. I often put these things off until I’m drafting, and that’s when I should be focused on writing instead. I stuck to it, though, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I’ve really coined my outline and research procedure by using this template. It is a more effective part of the process now and makes printing easier. Hopefully it will lead to better function, also.