A printable letterhead design with a thin olive green from stationery template for word , image source: www.pinterest.com
stationery template for word
It might seem like an easy step. Simply open a new document and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to have a solid working name and a summary before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could accelerate his composing process ~600% by creating an outline first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the same process for every new article I work . Like any fantastic programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and over means that is probably a fantastic chance for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by developing a template for my most common Ghost blog article structure. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I created a template based on how John constructions his posts, and another based on a writer whose work I respect.
For each template I’ve created a gist to show you what they look like. They are 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 every gist to observe the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file on your favourite writing program.
With this template, I can begin by answering each dot point using a few 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 enlarge my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow into each other nicely, because I understand the arrangement of the entire piece in advance.
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 morning, but it took me a few hours just to get the outline done, so that I put off the draft for another day.
On the other hand, I’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, and a solid idea of what each section would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow in the article. Though outlining took more than normal, drafting took less time since I’d put myself up for victory. 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 work, and that I had been tempted a couple of times to avoid the additional research or thinking required to fill out the outline properly. I frequently put these things off till I am drafting, which is when I should be focused on writing rather. I adhered to it, though, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I have actually overhauled my outline and research process by using this template. It is a more productive part of the process now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better work, too.
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