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tri fold menu template
It might look to be a simple step. Just open a new document and begin typing, right? But it’s rare for that to work for me. I love to have a strong working name and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could speed up his writing process ~600% by producing a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the exact same procedure for every new post I work on. Like any fantastic programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and over means that is probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to create some templates for myself.
I began by developing a template for the most common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that structure’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 made a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They’re only Markdown files, so go right ahead and save , rename them if you prefer, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you’re ready to write. Click on the”view raw” link on the bottom of every list to view the plain text version, which you can copy into a new file in your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot point with a couple of notes about what I should write in that section. From the time I am done, I will have a rough sketch of what the final piece will look like. This should make it simpler to expand my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow into each other well, because I understand the arrangement of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I found that my summarizing procedure became more involved. I had really planned to perform 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 that I set 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 segment would contain and how they’d work together to create a sense of flow from the article. Even though outlining took more than normal, drafting took time because 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 was quite a different process to how I normally do the job, and I had been tempted a few times to avoid the extra research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline properly. I often put these things off till I’m drafting, which is when I should be centered 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’ve actually coined my outline and research process by using this template. It’s a more productive part of the process now and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better function, also.
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