Pete the Cat color by number Education from pete the cat template , image source: www.pinterest.com
pete the cat template
It may seem like an easy step. Just open a new document and start typing, right? But it’s rare for that to work for me. I like to get a solid working title and a summary before I write a lot of. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could accelerate his writing process ~600 percent by producing a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I had been repeating the same procedure for every new post I work on. Like any fantastic programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and above means that’s probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by creating a template for my most common Ghost blog article structure. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I 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 created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They’re only Markdown documents, so go right 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 can copy to a new file on your favourite writing program.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot line with a few notes about what I should write in that segment. By the time I am 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 make them flow to each other well, since I understand the structure of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I found that my summarizing procedure became more involved. I’d really planned to do a full rough draft of the 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 another day.
On the flip side, I had over 1600 words written in my outline, along with a good idea about what each segment would contain and how they’d work together to create a sense of flow from the post. Even though outlining took more than normal, drafting took less time since I’d set myself up for success. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes from the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or 2.
It had been quite a different procedure to the way I normally do the job, and that I was tempted a few times to avoid the extra research or thinking required to fill out the outline properly. I frequently put these things off till I am drafting, and that’s when I should be centered on writing instead. I adhered to it, however, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I’d had.
I’ve actually overhauled my outline and research process by using this template. It is a more productive part of my procedure now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, too.
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