Note taking Strategies The Religion Teacher from two column notes template , image source: www.thereligionteacher.com
two column notes template
It may seem like an easy step. Simply open a new document and begin typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I like to have a strong working title and a summary before I write too much. John’s written about this earlier, after he discovered he could accelerate his composing process ~600 percent by producing an outline .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I was repeating the exact same process for every new article I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s probably a fantastic chance for automation.
So I decided to make some templates for myself.
I began by creating a template for the most common Ghost blog post arrangement. Since that structure’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John constructions his articles, and another based on a writer whose work I respect.
For every template I’ve made a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are only Markdown documents, so go right 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 the”view raw” link on the bottom of each list to view the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file in your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can begin with answering each dot point with a couple of notes about what I need to write in that segment. By 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 expand my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow into each other nicely, since I understand the arrangement of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I’d actually planned to do a complete rough draft of that post in the morning, but it took me a couple of hours simply to have the outline done, so I set the draft off for another day.
On the other hand, I’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, along with a solid idea of what each section would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow in the post. Even though outlining took more than usual, drafting took time because I had put myself up for victory. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes out of the outline and filling it out into a readable paragraph or 2.
It had been quite a different process to how I normally do the job, and I was tempted a couple of times to avoid the additional research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline correctly. I frequently put off these things till I am drafting, which is when I must be centered on writing rather. I stuck to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I’d had.
I have really overhauled my outline and research process by applying this template. It’s a more productive part of my procedure now, and makes printing easier. Hopefully it will lead to better function, also.