Be the person you want to be remembered as.

Zero Dean

Author | Photographer | CG Artist | Filmmaker

Book Update : Dec 13, 2018 NOW AVAILABLE!

Book Update : Dec 13, 2018 NOW AVAILABLE!


Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled Volume 1 is now available on Amazon! | | | | |

READ BELOW for the latest news and how to get a SIGNED COPY at no additional cost.

 Please note: From January 1st on, if folks want a signed copy, I will be charging $10 to pay for time and shipping). 

If you would like a SIGNED COPY, here’s what to do:

    1. Order the book on Amazon (
    2. Choose “this is a gift” option
    3. Have the book delivered to ME (send me an email to request the shipping address)
    4. Use the “include a note” option to specify:
      • What you want your inscription to be (if applicable)
      • What you want me to draw (if applicable)

I will then:

    1. Receive the book
    2. Sign it
    3. Write an inscription (if applicable)
    4. Draw something (if applicable)
    5. Reseal the packaging
    6. Ship the book to the address you provide using media mail (cheaper)
      • If you are in the domestic US, I will pay shipping.
      • If you are outside the USA, I may require a small payment if it ends up costing me money to ship you my book. (If you are not comfortable with this, do not have your book shipped to me.)

If you have any additional instructions or details to provide or the “gift note” doesn’t provide enough space, please contact me.

If you want a rush delivery (priority mail or faster, then I will require payment for the difference to ship you the book).

Please understand, I’m happy to pay for shipping (until December 31st, 2018) as long as it doesn’t end up costing me more money to send you the book than the amount I actually make from selling the book (and it really isn’t much). Also note, I don’t actually receive any royalties from my book until at least 60 days after it’s paid for.

If you don’t want a signed copy, you can just order the book as you would any other book on Amazon.

See for the latest details.

Wishing everyone happy holidays!


Book Update : Dec 13, 2018 NOW AVAILABLE!

Book Update : July 2, 2018

Hey Folks.

It’s been so long since my last update that some of you may have forgotten that you subscribed to my blog or my book updates list. In fact, so much time has passed that it is entirely possible that this content is no longer of interest or of relevance to you. And if that is the case, please know that you can easily unsubscribe using the instructions provided at the bottom of this message.

To those of you who decide to stick around, thank you!

What happened!?

Life happened.

As you know, things don’t always go according to plan. And progress on my book(s) is one of them.

In the spring of 2017 — as I neared completion of the first book (in a series of 3) — my progress began to slow. Despite spending several hours each day in front of my laptop, my productivity on my books would come and go in spurts. While the lessons that encompass all three books have essentially been finished since 2016, the personal narrative I decided to weave through the series has been… tricky. The narrative has been difficult for a number of reasons — most of which have to do with the constraints I wrote myself into (Though some of them have to do with the nature of the content itself. Personal stuff is, to re-use the word, tricky.)

In any case, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t sit down to spend several hours writing. And as spring turned into summer, I became increasingly disappointed with my progress and productivity.

And then, in July 2017, a friend of mine — who is a general contractor — surprised me by asking if I’d be interested in helping him with his business. He had more work than he could keep up with and was looking for extra labor. I thought it sounded like an interesting opportunity and one in which I could learn a number of new skills — and get paid in the process. And it seemed like a good way to shake up my routine with the hope that the changes would allow me to make more progress on my books when I had the time to work on them.

So my friend asked me if I would help. And I said yes. And I was excited to be doing something completely new for a change. And while I knew my new routine would change things, I had no idea how much or in what ways.

At first, I thought I could work and write. But, um, no. I quickly discovered that after spending 8 or more hours each day performing laborious activities, I was too exhausted (mentally and physically) at the end of the day to even think about writing.

“Ok. Fine. I’ll write on weekends,” I thought.

But here’s the thing, the nature of what I’m writing requires me to be intimately aware of what I’ve written, what I’m writing, and where I’m heading. And this means being able to retain over 1,200 pages of information (if not intimately, then at least generally). And the more time I spent away from book writing, the further removed I felt from the content. So although I had two free days a week to write, it would always take me a bit of time to re-wrap my head around what I was trying to do and get back into the frame of mind to write.

And as time passed, this became more and more difficult to the point that I just stopped writing.

And even more time passed.

And lots of things other than book writing happened. And lots of lessons were learned. And, as usual, lots of past experiences are still being processed.

It’s funny how we can get swept into things (of our own choosing) that can sort of take us in directions we didn’t intend to go. And it isn’t that these are necessarily bad places to go — there are always lessons to learn — but boy, they can sure mess with one’s game plan!

So why the update now?

This update comes as a result of that fact that I recently stopped working for my friend. And, in a way, it feels like I’m finally able to gather my bearings after being caught up in something that swept me far away from where I intended to go.

What’s the plan now?

Although I hope to get to book writing sooner, my plan is to begin writing again in earnest in January 2019. In the meantime, I’m venturing back into portraits photography — for a few reasons. Not least of which is it’s something I can get excited about (but also because I can no longer make ends meet without an income).

A possible twist…

One of the things I’m currently considering is releasing one or more of my books — as they were originally written — without the personal narrative. While I feel that the personal narrative adds a vital element to the books, I also feel that it is the lessons contained within that will be the most helpful to people.

So I’m thinking about publishing an “alpha” or “beta” version of my book(s) or release them in “editions” that will be updated, improved, and added to over time. Ie. Lessons Learned from the Path Less Traveled (Book 1): Not Everyone Will Understand Your Journey — “Edition 1” or “2018 Edition” or something along those lines. Of course, I may be shooting my book sales in the foot by releasing them before they are presented as I ultimately envision them, I also feel that the sooner I release my books, the sooner some people may be positively affected by the lessons contained within.

So that something I’m thinking about.

Will I be writing/posting more content (to my blog)?

I’d like to. Despite the lack of progress on my books, I have been taking notes over the last year and there are a number of things I’d like to write about once the spark to write them hits. Generally speaking, the content I write is most often triggered by events that happen in my life. Now that I actually have a bit more time to write and think, I suspect that will happen with far more frequency.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Ideas?

You are more than welcome to get in touch with me to discuss any of the above!

That’s all for now.

I hope this note finds you happy, healthy, and enjoying the journey of your life.


Q&A : 150425

Asker: Hey Zero! I have a question. How do you, as a writer, artist, etc… Build up the courage/motivation/ have the discipline to keep on a task and complete the important ones?

Well, discipline is simply choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST. So it’s a matter of making sure you know what you’re priorities are and what’s most important to you.

Based on your priorities, you can then make a list of things you need to do in order to accomplish your goals — whatever they may be.

And remind yourself throughout the day, is this the most important thing I could be doing right now to push me towards my goals? If it’s nowhere near the top of your list for things you can do in that moment, you may want to reconsider.

Because if you don’t work on things that move you towards your goal, then it’s unlikely you’ll ever attain it.

So just make sure you know what you want and are taking steps to get there.

Asker: I currently attend college…and I am finding that I lack the discipline/motivation to do some work. Basically, I find myself in a pickle (aka I am lazy)…I have a “I don’t care” attitude towards a decent amount of issues…

Here’s a harsh fact of life: The universe doesn’t care if you don’t care. The universe is neutral. The universe is content to let you drift through life, accomplishing nothing. It doesn’t matter what you’re “excuses” may be, you won’t get special treatment.

A wise person once said, “The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work.”

There really isn’t any way around that. If you want “luck” or want opportunities in your life, you need to take action and do something. You need the be the person that takes responsibility of your life. You need to be the hero of your own life story. Because there isn’t anyone else out there who is going to do it for you.

Being “lazy” and not caring is a dead-end street. You know this, or you wouldn’t have written. And the fact is, everyone is lazy at one time or another — so it’s normal. But if you really want to change and push forward, you need to find some motivation to do it.

The thing about motivation is that no one can really motivate you but YOU. I can provide you with some ideas and tell you to go for it, but whatever it is that sustains you through the difficulties you encounter in life has to come from you.

Asker: …I would like to do great in my classes, but I just don’t quite have the drive to do so.

Well, you’re not going to do great in your classes until you make your classes a priority.

Everything in your life right now is a result of your priorities. If you change your priorities to reflect the things that are TRULY of most importance to you, then your whole life will change.

Many people resist that because they don’t want to work (hard). But if you want to do well, then you need to do the things necessary to do well. Read, study, do your homework. Put in the time.

If you don’t do those things, you will not do well _by choice_. You choose to do something else rather than focus on your studies. And for that, you will have to deal with the consequences.

So yeah, please, focus on your studies (more).

Asker: …I would like it if I could get into the professional gaming industry, or at the very least, be able to attend tournaments, build my talent/skill for [game], win, and move to higher places. Now, the real issues that comes with this is that in order to make a living, I would have to qualify for being a top player years down the road, in order to win tournaments and make a profit from it. Now, this goal isn’t extremely realistic unless I dedicate my life towards it…

No, it’s not “realistic” (and what I’m doing with my life isn’t realistic either), but it’s not impossible. But you said it yourself, “unless I dedicate my life towards it”. And THAT takes a huge amount of discipline and commitment. And I say, if you want it, go for it. But if you don’t already have discipline and commitment in your life, dedicating your life towards something doesn’t necessarily give you that discipline or commitment.

Discipline and commitment are something you should work on every day. They are skills you can develop. And those skills can then be used for a whole variety of things. They will help open up your life.

Asker: …If I want to refocus reality here, I could always learn programming/gain my degree in computer science and potentially work for Capcom…I personally am skilled when it comes to finding solutions to others computer issues, so this would fit a more realistic style, but gaining the motivation to raise my math knowledge for Computer Engineering, Network Administration, Software Programming, etc… is my problem in the end.

Whatever you want to do, you need to find something that someone will pay you for. If you want to chase your dreams — whatever they may be — those dreams need to provide a way for you to survive. But whatever you decide to pursue, the benefit of pursuing something that truly interests you is that it seems less like work and more like play.

So yes, find something you want to do that you also feel you are suited for — or can become suited for by developing your skills.

It sounds to me a little like you aren’t quite sure what you want to commit to, so that’s difficult. I get it. But in the meantime, exercising your ability to have discipline and show commitment to things will make you much more capable of handling the things that the rest of your life has to throw your way.

So if you can find the discipline to do better in your classes, do better in your classes.

But don’t fool yourself into thinking that playing games for 48 hours straight is discipline. It’s not the same thing.

Asker: It also doesn’t help that I have a redundant teacher/who is also not concise either with the problems that matter most.

No, that doesn’t help. But another fact of life is that life isn’t fair nor convenient at all times. Sometimes people or teachers suck. And that’s where it’s YOUR job to suck it up and make the most of what’s available. Even if that means having to do the best you can with a bad teacher. That’s your opportunity to learn from the experience and become a better, stronger person in the process.

Asker: but my attitude towards the matter at hand doesn’t help either. I can’t always rely on others, and if I can muster up the strength and can complete tasks/study on my own, I can do whatever I set my mind to.

Yup. Exactly right. You know this stuff.

Life is tough. No one can look out for your own best interest as much as you can. you might get hit by a bus tomorrow. You might not.

You can try to get away with doing the least amount possible in life, but you’ll only get as much as you give (or less). If you put in little effort, you’ll get back very little. If you put in more effort, you’ll get more out of it.

Discipline isn’t something you find as much as something you recognize you already have within you. It’s not something you can go and buy. Just like six pack abs… they are not in THE product. They are already in you. It’s you that has to do the work to reveal them.

The same thing with discipline. DO the work. Make a commitment. Believe you can do it. And do it.

I hope this helps a little.