1 FISH 2 FISH DR SEUSS KETTLE CORN from dr seuss hat template , image source: dinedreamdiscover.com
It might look like an easy step. Just open a new document and begin 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 found he could speed up his composing procedure ~600 percent by producing a summary first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the same procedure for every new post I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the exact same work over and above means that’s probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make some templates for myself.
I began by developing a template for the most common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I also created a template based on how John structures his articles, and another according to a writer whose work I admire.
For each template I’ve created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are just Markdown documents, so go 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 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 in your favourite writing program.
With this template, I can start with answering each dot point with a few notes about what I should write in that segment. From the time I’m done, I’ll 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 make them flow to each other well, because I know the arrangement of the entire piece beforehand.
Using the template, I found that my outlining process became more involved. I’d 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 I set off the draft for a different day.
On the other hand, I’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, and a solid idea about what each segment would comprise and how they would work together to create a feeling of flow from the article. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took time because I had put myself up for success. Composing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes from 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 was tempted a few times to avoid the extra research or thinking necessary to fill out the outline properly. I frequently put off these things till I am drafting, and that’s when I must be centered on writing instead. I adhered to it, however, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I have actually coined my outline and study procedure by using this template. It’s a more productive part of my process now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better work, also.