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2 minute read / Jan 19, 2024 /

From Prompt to Paper in 60 Seconds

This is the machine generated example of metawriting that I mentioned in this post.

In my grade school days, a memorable lesson from 5th grade still stands out. My teacher, Mrs. L, was particularly passionate about the importance of structuring our thoughts on paper.

She insisted that our class outline every essay before diving into the writing process. I remember how she would enthusiastically explain the benefits of an outline, emphasizing its role in organizing our ideas and ensuring a clear, logical flow.

At the time, I didn’t fully grasp its significance, but Mrs. L’s insistence on this practice laid a foundation for my writing skills that I would appreciate in the years to come.

Many of us recognize the value of outlining, and frameworks like Situation, Complication, Question, and Answer (SCQA) exemplify this approach, offering a structured way to organize thoughts and convey messages clearly.

This method, ideal in theory, aligns well with both educational and corporate settings, providing a blueprint for effective communication.

However, the reality often leans towards a more direct approach. Both in grade school and in the corporate world, the urgency and dynamic nature of tasks frequently lead us to ‘dive in’ headfirst without an outline.

This spontaneous approach, while seemingly time-efficient, can miss the depth and clarity that a well-thought-out outline provides. Despite understanding the benefits of outlining, the practicalities of busy schedules and immediate demands often override the best intentions, leaving the disciplined practice of structured planning as an ideal, often unrealized in our fast-paced environments.

In today’s world, AI has revolutionized the writing process, making it easier and more efficient. The outline has become essential in this new era, serving as a critical tool for prompting AI to accurately steer the narrative.

It acts as a roadmap, guiding the AI in structuring the content and maintaining coherence. Importantly, editing, which is often simpler than writing from scratch, is greatly facilitated by AI.

With a basic outline in place, AI can efficiently refine and polish the content. Moreover, the AI’s ability to interpolate means that even incomplete thoughts included in the outline can be expanded and seamlessly integrated into the narrative.

This capability of AI to interpret and enhance partial ideas ensures that the final piece is both comprehensive and engaging, demonstrating the powerful synergy between human creativity and AI’s computational prowess.

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The Class Missing from Business School