Draft 1/ Job Name/ Date
This will amaze you but, now and then, the first draft isn't the final draft. Yeah. It's true. When that happens, I change the draft number and the date as the project moves forward. The process helps with version control and communication with multiple clients/editors.
That's great, but here's the primary benefit:
Creating the header provides a structure that works for me -- it marks the moment my brain shifts from one client to another, from one job to another, from doodling copy in my head to putting words on paper.
On the other hand, outlines don't work for me and they never have. When I was in school, and a teacher expected an outline before the full paper, I had to write the paper first and then create the outline from it.
Now, maybe outlines work for you. Maybe thought clouds help you write. Maybe your desk has to be absolutely clean. Maybe you need to turn email off, or have music on.
The right structure boosts creativity. This week, embrace your structure!
P.S. As it turns out, the Table of Contents for my book -- a necessary part of the book proposal -- feels like a damn outline to me. I'm now writing what I want for the book, and will go back when I'm done and structure it. Woot!