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personal health record template
It might seem like an easy step. Just open a new document and begin typing, right? But it’s rare for that to work for me. I like to get a strong working name and a summary before I write too much. John’s written about this earlier, after he discovered he could accelerate his composing procedure ~600% by creating a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I was repeating the exact same procedure for every single new post I work on. Like any good programmer, I realized repeating the same work over and above means that is probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to create a few templates for myself.
I began by creating a template for the common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that structure’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John structures his articles, and another according to a writer whose work I respect.
For every template I’ve made 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 the”view raw” link on the bottom of every gist to observe the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file on your favourite writing app.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot line with a few notes about what I should write in that section. 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 enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow into each other well, because I understand the arrangement of the whole piece beforehand.
Using the template, I found that my outlining process became more involved. I’d really planned to do a complete rough draft of the post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours simply to have the outline done, so I put off the draft for a different day.
On the flip side, I’d over 1600 words written in my outline, along with a solid idea of what each segment would comprise 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 out it into a readable paragraph or two.
It had been quite a different process to how I normally do the job, and that I had been tempted a couple of times to avoid the additional research or thinking required to fill out the outline correctly. I often put off these things until I am drafting, which is when I must be focused on writing rather. 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 procedure by applying this template. It’s a more productive part of my process now, and makes printing easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better work, also.
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