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vistaprint business cards template
It might look like an easy step. Just open a new document and start typing, right? But it’s rare for this to work for me. I love to get a solid working title and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this earlier, after he discovered he could speed up his writing process ~600 percent by creating a summary .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realised I had been repeating the exact same process for every new article I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and over means that’s probably a good chance for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I began by developing a template for my common Ghost blog post structure. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John constructions his articles, and another according to a writer whose work I respect.
For every template I’ve created a gist to show you what they look like. They are only Markdown files, so go right ahead and save them, rename them if you prefer, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you’re ready to write. Click the”view raw” link to the bottom of each list to view the plain text version, which you can copy to a new file in your favourite writing program.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot point with a few notes about what I need to write in that segment. By the time I’m done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the final piece will look like. This should make it easier to expand my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow into each other nicely, because I understand the structure of the whole piece beforehand.
Using the template, I discovered that my summarizing procedure became much 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 just to get the outline done, so I put off the draft for a different day.
On the flip side, I’d over 1600 words written in my outline, and a good idea of what each section would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow from the post. Even though outlining took more than usual, drafting took less time because I had 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 two.
It had been quite a different process to how I normally work, and I was tempted a couple of times to avoid the additional research or thinking necessary to complete the outline correctly. I frequently put these things off until I am drafting, and that’s when I should be focused on writing rather. I stuck to it, however, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I had.
I have actually overhauled my outline and study process by using this template. It’s a more productive part of the procedure now and makes printing easier. Hopefully it will lead to better function, too.
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