Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Small Beginnings

By Carolyn Miller

"Do not despise the small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…"
(Zechariah 4.10)

Zechariah is not exactly my go-to book in the Bible, but in a recent reading this particular verse jumped out. And while this verse concerns the rebuilding of the Temple in Judah in 520BC, I believe the truth resonates still today.

How easy it is to want the ‘all’ now, to want the success without the hard yards. To want to see the Temple built without clearing debris to establish solid foundations. To be 10kg lighter but keep eating the same foods. To want to say ‘I’m a published author’ without finishing that first (or second, or third…) draft.

As a soon-to-be published author, the road to publication has felt amazingly long at times, weighed by waiting, disappointment, hope, rejection and prayers.

But I’ve learned those small beginnings are so important. 

Those contests I entered where feedback indicated judges hadn’t read my manuscript properly or thought my characters too whiney forced me to toughen up under the tears, to learn to let go of the small criticisms to fight for what’s more important. The rejections saying my characters and settings needed to be American in order to be accepted by a US publisher might have made me want to quit, but they also helped guide me – into English characters and settings of the Regency period ;)

Learning to stick at the physical aspects of writing, to park myself in a chair until I’ve met my word target for the day has been invaluable this year, when I’ve been contracted to deliver two brand new 90K novels to my publishers. If I’d kept only ever dabbling - wondering what was the point, no one would ever see my words so being haphazard in my work ethic didn’t really matter - then I would not have coped with writing two books in six months whilst diving deep into the world of edits and marketing – at a time when it really did matter.

How easy it can be to think that small beginnings aren’t worth it. 

That the obstacles of my situation are too vast, and I should either give up, or rail against God for allowing such problems to occur.

Zerubbabel seemed to need encouragement, his initial God-sparked enthusiasm needing to be bolstered by prophetic words to ‘be strong’ and to remember ‘it is not by force nor by strength but by my Spirit says the Lord.’ How much do we need to remember these verses in our own lives.

Five years ago the road to publication seemed too steep for this little Aussie author, the mountains huge and the point lost – yet the dream kept on. The mountains started to move. I gained some positive feedback. Won some contests. Found an agent. Gained further clarity as to my genre. Found a publisher.

I know writing journey will necessitate SO much more learning, but I’m encouraged by looking back on the past years of writing knowing that God has been faithful throughout, and that He will continue to orchestrate circumstances as I seek to glorify Him.

Those little efforts might seem insignificant at first, but ultimately they do have an effect - as anyone who semi-regularly eats Cadbury Dairy milk will tell you! Making a start might seem hard – whether it be cutting down on the junk food, making time for that family member, finishing that manuscript or starting a new one – but small beginnings are not to be despised. Just like Zerubbabel, we press on, remembering God’s Spirit strengthens us, and that His timing is perfect. The Lord rejoices to see the work begin - work that ultimately exists to glorify Him.

About Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of the Regency era, 

Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 

Her Regency novel 'The Elusive Miss Ellison' will be published in the US by Kregel in February 2017, and is available for pre-order on

Connect with her:


  1. So appreciate your post today, Carolyn! And huge congratulations on your debut release! Gorgeous cover.

    1. Thanks Sandra! And I agree - 'she' is pretty gorgeous! :)

  2. Congratulations on your book and contract for two more! I'm American, but I would love to read about Aussie characters in their home continent. I wish the American market weren't so close-minded. :-(

    1. Thanks LeAnne! Have you read 'An Aussie Summer Christmas' anthology? It's filled with great Australian-based settings and characters, and involves four stories written by Australian authors who have written a number of other books set Down Under too. Worth checking out! :)

  3. Carolyn, such a good word for us all today. Thank you. Such a great scripture. It's the one step at a time that the Lord is looking for, isn't it.

    Well done in persevering. There really aren't any overnight sensations these days in author land. We have to sow lots of words before we reap.

    Well done and thank you again. Wonderful encouragement for us all.


    1. Thanks Ian. I really appreciate the encouragement! God bless you and your words :)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I love that Bible verse! Thank you for sharing about your journey. Congratulations on your up-coming release! Beautiful cover!

    1. Thanks Hope. I agree - it's beautiful! God bless you :)

  6. Hi Carolyn, Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us. I love the cover of The Elusive Miss Ellison, and I can't wait to read it! Congratulations on persevering and not giving up on your publishing dreams. :)