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It may seem like a simple step. Simply open a new file 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 procedure ~600 percent by producing an outline 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 fantastic programmer, I realized repeating the same work over and over means that is probably a good chance for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I began by creating a template for my common Ghost blog post structure. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I created a template based on how John constructions his articles, and another based on a writer whose work I admire.
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 , 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 each gist to observe the plain text version, which you may copy to a new file on your favorite writing program.
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 am done, I’ll 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 understand the arrangement of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I found that my outlining process became much more involved. I had actually planned to do a full rough draft of that post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so I put the draft off for another day.
On the other hand, I’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, along with a good idea of what each segment would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow from the article. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took less time because I had put myself up for victory. Writing the draft was only 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 work, and I had been tempted a couple of times to avoid the extra research or thinking required to fill out the outline correctly. I often put these things off till I am drafting, which is when I must 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’d had.
I’ve really coined my outline and study procedure by applying this template. It is a more effective part of my procedure now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.