PDQ Pro Writing Retreat: Day Zero (1/6)

PDQ Pro Writing Retreat: Day Zero (1/6)

Chairs in the executive loft

In the executive loft

For the next 12 days I’ll be holed up in southern New Hampshire with Bill Parry, in the attic loft space, working on a book. PDQ Pro is an adaptation of a military training process called Personnel Qualification System, but streamlined for use in the corporate world. We took it on the road to conferences in Hartford, Orlando, and Austin. The method has matured over the last couple years and has helped transform training for a half-dozen consumer electronics and high tech manufacturing companies. It is time to bring it to everybody.

Here we are on day zero, getting set up. Bill spent last week painting a magnetic white board on the walls of the loft. My job was to overhaul the Evernote that has been our brainstorm dumping ground since December 2014 to see what is there. I extracted all the text to a word document and discovered we already had 10,000 words. Formatted for an industry standard 5.5″ x 8.5″ book, it is already over 50 pages. Our goal will be an additional 20,000 words in 10 work days.

It goes without saying that “writing a book” is a task always fraught with danger. So I built a strict schedule, and to keep us moving we’ll be using the 20 mile march technique, whereby we each write 1,000 words per day and stop. We are both actively pursuing interviews and employment, and there is no way to write for eight hours each day anyway. Plus we don’t want to burn out. We set a goal of three 90-minute work sessions every day, each with 300-400 words.  We will change topics for each work session to keep the ideas flowing.

Here’s the general plan:

  • Wednesday: prep strategy, workflow, assignments, and metrics; 2×90.
  • Thursday: writing to the daily target (and a job fair north of Boston), 2×90
  • Friday: writing to the daily target, 3×90
  • Saturday: writing to the daily target; 3×90, review progress, rerack the schedule for week two
  • Sunday: day off
  • Monday: edit and review progress; write to daily target; 2×90
  • Tuesday: write to daily target; 3×90
  • Wednesday: write to daily target; 3×90
  • Thursday: write to daily target; 3×90
  • Friday: write to daily target; 3×90
  • Saturday: editing; review progress; close out the loft

As the retreat continues I will post five more updates, and link them all. If you have experience with “crash” writing a book, please chime in down in the comments – we’ll take any help we can get! And if you have questions, we will answer those if we can in future updates.

Thanks for following along. Here we go!

Bill & Ed


PDQ Pro Writing Retreat six part series

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