The goal of every case study is to communicate what you did, how you did it, and what you learned along the way.
Put in those simple terms, writing a case study appears deceptively simple. Creating case studies will come naturally to you later in your career, but they can be a real struggle early on.
Much of the issue lies not in the subject matter, but in our tendency to begin editing too early.
Anytime you stop yourself mid-stream, you risk losing track of the story you are trying to tell. When writers become mired in the details of editing half-written work, it’s hard to begin writing again. Many scrap their work and start over.
To protect you from this outcome, I’m passing along a writing process that I’ve followed for years. It shares some similarities with the way we’ve approached Priority Guides, but here we are focusing on telling your story rather than the story of a brand.
- Draft one: Create a complete outline for the case study
- Draft two: Add a single paragraph of detail to each section listed in your outline.
- Draft three: Layer in more detail into the individual parts that merit the effort.
- Draft four: Begin editing.
Using this approach, you expand on your work three full cycles before beginning to edit your work. This method of exploration before distillation mirrors the design process. Use this freedom to write without worrying about ‘getting it right.’ There is always plenty of time afterward to edit.
Resources for review
Please use the following items to guide your exercise attempt:
|Beyond decoration||New Pragmatic|
Length: Three-to-four hours to complete.
In this exercise, you’re tasked with working through three drafts of your case study.
Following the outline above, your case study should grow in size as you layer more information during each draft.
It would be best to write your case study in a collaborative writing program like Google Docs. The goal is to see the full scope of what you are crafting before you begin editing.
This is a big project, so you should seek feedback on your second draft before expanding on the case study.
The third draft should expand on the depth of the case study, but now you will begin to add weight. In this third draft, you should begin importing or linking to images for use in the final draft.
Once complete, update your Program Journal with links the assets produced for this exercise. Post your Journal in the #Feedback-Loop channel for review.
Up next A beverage. Go enjoy yourself — but only for a second. Career Mode awaits.