How to Draft Documents in The Journal

When creating a letter, article, story, or other kind of document that requires editing, I use the following steps:

  1. First I create an entry with the name of the document (e.g., “How to Draft Documents in The Journal”).
  2. Under this entry, I create my first draft entry: “Draft 1”. If this is for an article where I’m doing research, I’ll also create a “Notes” entry and/or “Research” entry.
  3. In “Draft 1” I create my initial draft of the document, doing as little editing as possible.
  4. When I think I have a sufficient first draft, I use Entry | Lock/Unlock Entry (hot-key: F4) to make “Draft 1” read-only. Then I create a new entry “Draft 2”, and copy-and-paste the text from “Draft 1” into “Draft 2.” Alternatively, I can right-click on “Draft 1” in the entry tree and choose “Copy Entry to Clipboard”. Then right-click and choose “Paste Entry from Clipboard” and rename the pasted entry to “Draft 2”.
  5. When editing “Draft 2,” I’m almost certain to be cutting largish blocks of text. Because I can’t stand to lose *anything* I’ve written, and because I might need that block of text later, I create a “Snips” entry under the main document entry. I cut-and-paste the block(s) of text from the draft and into “Snips.”
  6. As I complete a draft, I repeat steps 4 & 5, creating new draft documents as necessary (and always making old drafts read-only) until I reach what seems to be a final draft.

You’ll notice that the main document entry is primarily used only as a “folder” to contain all of the drafts, notes, and clippings for the document. Since, to me the “final draft” of any document is less an end result and more a “snapshot” of the document at that point in its evolution, having access to all the ancillary information–including how I got where I am–is very important.

Sometimes it’s necessary (for whatever reason) to transfer the document to MS Word. Most often for me this is to get access to more sophisticated printing options. In these cases, I just copy-and-paste the final draft into MS Word and do the printing. Or I can use the “Save Entry As…” (hot-key: F12) and save the entry to an RTF (rich text format) file that can be opened by almost any word processor.