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photography gift certificate template
It may seem to be an easy step. Just open a new file and begin typing, right? But it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to have a strong working title and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he found he could speed up his writing procedure ~600% by creating an outline first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the same procedure for every single new article I work on. Like any fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the exact same work over and over means that is probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to create some 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 based on a writer whose work I respect.
For every template I’ve created a gist to show you what they look like. They are just Markdown documents, so go ahead and save , rename them if you prefer, 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 gist to observe the plain text version, which you can copy into a new file in your favorite writing app.
With this template, I can begin with answering each dot line using a couple of notes about what I should write in that segment. From 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 enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow to each other well, since I know the structure of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I found that my outlining process became much more involved. I had really planned to do a complete rough draft of the post in the early hours, but it took me a few hours simply to get the outline done, so I put the draft off for another day.
On the other hand, I had over 1600 words written in my outline, and a good idea about what each segment would comprise and how they would work together to create a sense of flow from the post. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took time because I had put myself up for success. Writing the draft was only a matter of taking each chunk of notes out of the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or 2.
It was quite a different process to the way I normally work, and that I was tempted a few times to prevent the extra research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline properly. I frequently put these things off until I’m drafting, and that’s when I should be focused on writing rather. I adhered to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I had.
I’ve really overhauled my outline and study process by applying this template. It is a more productive part of the process now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.
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