There is no doubt about it: Writing is hard work. Perhaps the hardest part is sticking with it through discouragement and juggling writing and the life you live. Your day job, children young and old, elder care, housework and volunteer duties all can sap the strength you have.

But you write in the cracks—those few minutes between other responsibilities—and late at night or in the early morning. You say no to the extras; lower your standards regarding house cleanliness; turn off the television or Netflix a couple nights a week.

That perseverance pays off bit by bit, step by step forward. And every step helps. Sometimes it’s encouragement from a friend or a positive word from a publishing professional. Perhaps increased social media numbers; the promise of an endorsement by an established author; an agent makes you an offer.

For Jennifer Lamont Leo, it was receiving a contract for her novel You’re the Cream in My Coffee from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She got her first box of books in the mail recently and cried a little. What a huge step forward! Don’t you just love the cover?!

Rest assured, however, that Jenny took lots of small steps first. She persevered through writing the book; the search for an agent; waiting to hear from publishers in a tough climate for Christian fiction. She was patient throughout the publishing process, building her reach into her readership with blog and Facebook posts, self-publishing novellas featuring her main character, and planning book launch events. She knew that each small step was still a step and just one more in the long process.

Writers like Jenny deserve our admiration for sticking with what can be a discouraging and difficult process. From the outside, getting a book published doesn’t seem that hard. Just write it and publishers will come. Just put it on CreateSpace and buyers will come.

Wrong. Any writing project, whether a short devotion, magazine article or book, is a series of small steps that become a bigger project. I encourage you to take those small steps, find encouragement in each one, and stick with your dream.

What are your best small steps? Would love to hear what has encouraged you.

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