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It might look like a simple step. Just open a new document and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for this to work for me. I like to have a solid working title and an outline before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he found he could accelerate his composing procedure ~600% by creating an outline first.
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I was repeating the same process for every single new article I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and above means that is probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to make a few templates for myself.
I began by creating a template for my common Ghost blog article arrangement. Since that arrangement’s particular to me, I also created a template based on how John constructions his posts, and another based on a writer whose work I admire.
For every template I’ve made a gist to show you what they look like. They’re just 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’re ready to write. Click on the”view raw” link to the bottom of each gist to observe the plain text version, which you may copy to a new file in your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can begin by answering each dot line using a few notes about what I need to write in that section. By the time I’m done, I will have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it simpler to enlarge my notes into fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow to each other well, since I know the arrangement of the entire piece in advance.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I had really planned to do a full rough draft of the post in the morning, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so that I put off the draft for a different day.
On the other hand, I’d over 1600 words composed in my outline, and a good idea about what each section would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow in the article. Though outlining took longer than usual, drafting took time because I’d put myself up for victory. 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 the way I normally do the job, and that I was tempted a few times to avoid the extra research or thinking required to fill out the outline properly. I often put off these things until I am drafting, which is when I must be focused on writing instead. I adhered to it, though, and by the time I got around to writing the draft I was grateful I had.
I have really overhauled my outline and research process by applying this template. It’s a more effective part of my procedure now and makes printing easier. Hopefully it’ll lead to better work, too.