24 Hour Timeline Worksheet Whorkseet from wedding day timeline template , image source: talafghan.com
It may look like a simple step. Just open a new file and start typing, right? Nonetheless, it’s rare for this to work for me. I like to get a solid working name and a summary before I write too much. John’s written about this before, after he discovered he could speed up his writing process ~600 percent by creating an outline .
As I wrote an outline for a post this week I realized I had been repeating the same procedure for every single new article I work on. Like any good programmer, I realised repeating the same work over and over means that is probably a fantastic opportunity for automation.
So I decided to create a few templates for myself.
I began by creating a template for my common Ghost blog post structure. Since that structure’s particular to mepersonally, I also created a template based on how John structures his posts, and another according to a writer whose work I admire.
For every template I’ve created a gist to show you exactly what they look like. They are only Markdown documents, so go right ahead and save them, rename them if you like, and copy-and-paste the contents into a new file whenever you’re ready to compose. Click on the”view raw” link on the bottom of every list to view the plain text version, which you can copy into a new file on your favorite writing program.
With this template, I can start by answering each dot line using a couple of notes about what I need to write in that segment. From the time I am done, I’ll have a rough sketch of what the finished piece will look like. This should make it simpler to enlarge my notes to fully-formed paragraphs and cause them to flow to each other nicely, since I know the arrangement of the entire piece beforehand.
Using the template, I discovered that my outlining process became much more involved. I’d really planned to perform a full rough draft of that post in the early hours, but it took me a couple of hours just to have the outline done, so that I put the draft off for another day.
On the flip side, I had over 1600 words composed in my outline, along with a solid idea about what each segment would contain and how they would work together to create a sense of flow from the post. Though outlining took longer than normal, drafting took time because I had set myself up for victory. Writing the draft was just a matter of taking each chunk of notes out of the outline and filling out it into a readable paragraph or two.
It had been quite a different procedure to the way I normally work, and that I had been tempted a few times to avoid the additional research or thinking necessary to complete the outline correctly. I often put off these things till I’m drafting, and that’s when I must be focused on writing instead. I stuck 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 research procedure by using this template. It’s a more effective part of my process now, and makes printing easier. Hopefully it will lead to better work, also.