List-style articles

I have a lot of draft articles building up that don’t get very much further than that initial outline of bullet points.

Each article usually starts with an outline, where each bullet point is a couple of words or a badly written, badly spelled sentence about a point I want to make. I then flesh those out into proper sentences, paragraphs and add headings where required. But sometimes an outline is all that’s needed.

It gets it out the door, which is really the main thing. I don’t want to sit on my ideas forever, and sometimes they sit there past the point that they’re actually relevant. Leaving articles in their list form means less editing, so the barrier-to-publishing is lower.

Luke Wroblewski does it well when he publishes notes from a talk he’s been to, and I think the first list-style article I published was a roundup from this year’s WWDC, which was a good format for what I was trying to achieve.

Lists might not be ‘proper writing’, but they can be published quickly, are concise, digestible and easy to skim-read (perfect for the web!). I’ve always enjoyed quote-style posts, a format employed to good effect on Daring Fireball.

So I’ll be publishing more lists in future. Don’t worry, though, I’ll edit them past the ‘badly written sentence’ stage!

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