From Zero to Done in Record Time

From Zero to Done in Record Time, guest post by Michael D Ditton

Dreams, Goals and Adventure was written to inspire others to never lose sight of their dreams. When I first started to transfer the wealth of knowledge and life experiences out of my brain and on to paper, I had no idea what I was getting in to. I did what I have always done in the past, I began to do research and called upon others who have much more knowledge in this area than me. I call it utilizing your resources. And that I did.

One story I share often is how Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul, were rejected 144 times before being picked up. Even though that was quite alarming and helped me with my decision to self-publish, I finish the story by saying I’m glad I was not one of those 144 because I would be kicking myself….

From Zero to Done in Record Time, guest post by Michael D Ditton
I’m getting ahead of myself here. There was a tad bit of work that was involved before reaching the “figure out” the publishing industry. Yes, I need to know the mechanics of it but I need to make sure I had the material first.

After writing 10’s of thousands of words on to paper, I figured I’m almost done. Not quite.

Have you ever had a 5-minute job take 5 hours???? Well it was kind of like that.

Between life getting in the way, help from editors, the endless edits and some words disappeared where new ones appeared, year after year kept passing by.

My first phase of editing was with my partner at the time. Her English and grammar far exceeded mine and we went through page by page making ALL of the corrections. It was a bit painful and it’s a wonder she didn’t divorce me right then, but she didn’t. I have to give her credit where credit is due.

Second phase was a friend of mine across the Pacific, the Philippines to be exact, where he teaches English and he knows my story well. Many time zones apart, we would email each other in the evening or morning and not expect to hear from the other until that night or the next day. On a rare occasion we were both available at the same time and we could talk in person. We would batt the ball back and forth until we reached a point we mutually agreed upon. It was one of those rare moments when we were able to talk in person he drove a point home to me on a chapter I was not going to budge on. On that day he had plugged in his MagicJack and dialed my number. Reaching me he said, “Michael, I’ve heard you tell that story over and over. You tell it from your heart. When you tell it, if people don’t have tears in their eyes they for certain have goosebumps.”

The story he was referring to was the one where I am on burial detail during Desert Storm. To this day, I still have trouble telling it without tears in my eyes or goosebumps on top of goosebumps. The point he was making was that I needed to have even more of that emotion in the written word to have the same effect. Of course, he was a little overboard with defining the color, shape and size of each leaf on every single tree, but I got it. To this day I am so very thankful for his guidance.

Then came my gal on the East Coast…. I love her. She was so instrumental on the true meaning of the story. My story. That she told me long before I asked, it was important that the story was in my voice, my tone and she adapted right to it. She helped with some chronological issues, formatting, wording, missed grammar and made some wonderful suggestions. Once again, another HUGE thanks.

Next came the request of another friend who said the words, “I would love to be a part of the editing process”. He is an editor of many talents and I could not refuse his opinion. One of the major benefits I thought he could bring to the table is he is also a fellow boater, cruiser and yacht Captain. He could relate to a big section of my story and would know if I was not spelling things out well enough for the boating and landlubber, (a person unfamiliar with the sea or sailing), target market I was pursuing. Again, another job well done and another huge debt of gratitude.

There has to come a time when you say enough is enough. Six years had come and gone and I still had not published my book that I was almost finished with after that first six months.

It was in the final year and a half of this process I had started to dig in to see just how I was going to reach Millions of readers.  This is another story in itself.

After countless hours of research and me at a point of, I’M NOT EDITING THIS BOOK ANYMORE, I decided to publish with Balboa. They seemed to be in between self-publishing and being published by a big name company. In fact, they are a division of Hay House Publishing and they have programs for any author’s needs. I call it assisted self-publishing.

It was time, I pressed the button on my trusty Toshiba and it was off. My manuscript, ready for their review and approval.

After some time I got the green light but with some “suggestions”. They stated that I did not have enough meat in the book to make a self-help reader completely satisfied. With that they suggested either changing genre or make some changes to my book. Maybe something they could sink their teeth into after each chapter.

I wasn’t all the way back to the drawing board but I was left scratching my head. There was no way I wanted to change genres. My odds of readership would go from 9 out of 10 to 1 out of 10. I had to come up with that little something extra.

Just so happened at the time I was back in Mexico where I was part of a writers group that met every Saturday. One of the gals in the group was an editor and I scheduled a meet.

Sitting at her dining room table, side by side, we began to brainstorm. It wasn’t long we had a plan. I left there that day feeling accomplished.

In just a short time, she with the assistance of her husband, made some nice addition recommendations for the end of each chapter. Some ah ha moments. I was thrilled. It was time to resubmit.

Proudly published November 2015, I have had GREAT reviews from those that have read it. It has been a challenge, one I have accepted, but I want to have an impact on as many people as I can. With this, I drive on.

Although from the first written word to publication was under 7 years, if has been a lifetime of adventure. Let the next adventure begin…

From Zero to Done in Record Time, guest post by Michael D Ditton
I was a dreamer from an early age. To this day I believe anyone can do whatever they choose to put their mind to.

I didn’t go from eight years old to semi-retired in the length of one sentence. Nor was it easy. But I did follow a simple, time-honored process.

I was in my twenties before I fully understood the true importance of goal setting. After that, I was able to be more focused, see where I wanted to be, how I was going to get there, notice when I needed to make adjustments, and had the satisfaction of reaching goals. I enjoyed the benefits of reaching a goal and putting a big, fat check mark on my list.

Here’s how those goals paid off:
At 8, sold vegetables door to door from my little red wagon
Age 13, supervisor, World’s Fare Hamburgers
Age 15, assistant manager trainee, Pizza Hut
Age 16, assistant manager, Round Table Pizza
Age 18, began a 20-year commitment with the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, retiring in 2005 as a staff sergeant and Desert Storm veteran. Over my service career I became a leader and was recognized and awarded for my achievements and outstanding service.
Age 20, found my true calling as a sales professional
Age 31, began a successful career in real estate and real estate investments
Age 36, semi-retired
Age 37, owned and operated several companies
Age 41, semi-retired, sold everything and sailed south on his 45’ sailboat

Although I found success at a very early age, I became painfully aware of how quickly it can all be taken away. In 1991, after I returned from Desert Storm, I found myself bankrupt, mentally, physically and financially and divorced.

It was the lowest point in my life. Four years later, I had clawed my way back to even, and started to build from there. Two years after that, following my roadmap of goals, I reached my first level of financial independence. The rest is history.

For more on Michael, you can connect with him at the following sites:

For those following his tour, Michael is offering a special price on the Kindle eBook format of DREAMS, GOALS, AND ADVENTURE at a reduced cost of just 99 cents! Readers can also get a FREE copy of Michael’s GOAL SETTING BASICS in the eBook format. For one or both of these special offers just CLICK HERE!

From Zero to Done in Record Time, guest post by Michael D Ditton



  1. A story of inspiration and a huge reminder that we have to make that first step to reach our goals and dreams.

    Jo, thanks for sharing Michael's story and for being a part of his tour.

    MC Book Tours

  2. Thank you Writers and Authors, MC Book Tours and all of you that have taken the time to read the post and make a comment. It warms my heart... I truly want my story to inspire as many people as I can and every step like this is in the right direction. Mahalo.....Michael

  3. Love seeing Michael's book everywhere. It's full of inspiration and hope. Thanks, Jo.


I love to hear from you. So feel free to comment, but keep in mind the basics of blog etiquette — no spam, no profanity, no slander, etc.

Thanks for being an active part of the Writers and Authors community.