7-Step Kanban approach to become a Better Writer
Writing is infused with creativity and still demands structure. What gives?
Doesn’t creativity in itself mean a free-flow of artistic expression, of thoughts and ideas? Quite a paradox!
As I hope to provide better value to readers and make writing a more consistent, enjoyable practice for myself, I looked at what makes my writings more impactful and error-free.
Here are all the steps I take, now in a Kanban style approach, to make my writing process smoother:
7-Step Kanban to become a Better Writer
Kanban methodology is the tiki-taka of the productivity world, let’s dive into it.
Research is the axe that a writer sharpens before venturing into the world of words. Without proper research on the subject, writing in itself will have glaring loopholes and will reflect a lower understanding of the topic.
To become a better writer, read. And to become a better reader, write.
After thorough research, I write. Writing in itself is not about putting pen to paper, but about spilling the ink. Write that story upside down, weave the characters as their dumbest self, and sprinkle just a spark of magic that is their genius.
After every 3–4 paras, I re-read that segue as a whole, try to understand what the words convey, individually and what the paras convey — individually and collectively. This is the stage where I do micro-edits to cut out fluff, filler words and try to convey my message in as little words as possible.
This step by far is the most impactful, and by far is the most playful. My most creative expressions in writing come at this stage.
I never complete my writing in one go. Once I have written a few paras, have developed the story to my satisfaction, I’ll put my digital quill down. A few days after, I’ll re-read what I have written, but at a different time of the day. Does the writing still hold strong? Did something make sense earlier, but doesn’t anymore?
At Bettering stage, I ask questions like:
- Who am I writing this post for?
- Is there at least one unique section in this article that is different from the rest of the articles on the same topic?
- What is my unique opinion on the subject at hand?
- Is this article providing enough value? After reading the piece, did the content make me smarter? Did the content make me more informed? Did the content make me share the piece with my friends and family for their benefit? Did the content make me think my brains out? That is the only true definition of value in my eyes.
At this stage, I incorporate conversation triggers, curiosity triggers, transition words and try to sprinkle a personality into the article.
Et Voila! The end is here. Or at least, I have transferred all my thoughts on the topic to a platform. Time to take a deep breath.
Editing is the stage where all the grammar and language flow corrections happen. The impact I want to create must be complimented with an easy to read and absorb articulation of sentences and messaging.
The agenda at this stage is not to eliminate the complexities, but to balance it. Let the reader feel the tension, have their brain fire up a neuron to visualize a story that makes best sense in their world.
Coherency + Complexity = the perfect burrito. Messy enough to hit all the senses, but wrapped in an orderly fashion to bite into it from any direction.
Forging is the stage where I read my article end-to-end and try to make sense of my own writing, and then forge better stories throughout the messaging.
At Forging Stage, I ask myself:
- Can I add a backdrop story to a particular pointer without making it unnecessarily long?
- Have I used language and vocabulary nuances that connect with the reader?
- Does the reader get to the heart of the content as quickly as possible?
- Can I add idioms, glue words, or anchor something memorable to let the reader have a positive experience?
1 thing I always refine at this stage is the introduction. Readers come to eat the meat of the article, and are not necessarily concerned with the sides and the starters. Ok, maybe they’ll make an exception for salsa and chips, I mean who wouldn’t? But salsa and chips is not what they came for.
Help the reader get what they came for, faster.
After finishing every article, I think to myself ‘This section could have been better’, or ‘That message could have been expressed differently’. Alas! Such is any and every writer’s mind.
The post is ready to be read and absorbed by the right audience. No need to go in an endless loophole of what could or could not be better.
My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to dare to publish the article on a platform now.
Lemme get some water, unclench my jaw and hit PUBLISH.