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It may look to be a simple step. Simply open a new document and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for that 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 found he could accelerate his writing procedure ~600 percent by producing an outline .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the exact same process for every single new post I work on. Like any good programmer, I realized repeating the exact same work over and over means that’s probably a good opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I started by creating a template for the common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that arrangement’s particular to mepersonally, 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 exactly what they look like. They are just Markdown documents, so go right ahead and save , rename them if you like, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you are ready to compose. Click the”view raw” link to the bottom of each list to view the plain text version, which you can copy into a new file on your favorite writing app.
With this template, I can begin by answering each dot point with a couple of notes about what I need to 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 enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and make them flow into each other well, because I understand the structure of the whole piece in advance.
Using the template, I found that my summarizing procedure became more involved. I’d actually planned to do a full rough draft of the post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours just to get the outline done, so that I set the draft off for a different day.
On the flip side, I had over 1600 words written 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 time since I had set myself up for success. Writing the draft was only 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 procedure to how I normally do the job, and I was tempted a few times to avoid the additional research or thinking required to fill out the outline correctly. I frequently put these things off till I’m drafting, and that’s when I should be centered on writing instead. I adhered to it, though, and from the time I got around to writing the draft I was glad I’d had.
I have really overhauled my outline and study procedure by applying this template. It is a more effective part of my process now, and makes drafting easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, too.