I’m amazed sometimes at the life lessons imparted by Muppets.

I shouldn’t be, really. There’s a reason Sesame Street has the iconic status it does and is, apparently, the most coveted guest spot in Hollywood.

But it had been a few (ahem) years since I watched the show regularly until it became one of my daughter’s favorites. And I like to watch them with her now, not only because I don’t believe in just popping her in front of the TV but also because there are some great reminders written into those scripts.

Take the recent episode where Elmo introduced us to a young girl from Trinidad and Tobago who was learning to walk on stilts. She shared advice that her stepfather gave her which said, basically, “Take it one step at a time and focus on your goal, and you will succeed.”

It was with this reminder fresh in my head that I prepared to teach the POD Workshop (i.e. print on demand) at the WMG headquarters this week.

We have a great group of professional writers who want to learn more about how to act as their own publishers for their print products. (Notice I didn’t say self-publish; that’s not what we teach. This is about the business of producing professional print books.)

One step at a time. How easy that is to forget, especially in this day and age of instant gratification, instant download, instant fame.

But it takes time to learn a new skill, time to perfect that skill (or at least improve it), time to develop the ways in which that skill will be applied.

Time. Our most precious commodity.

There’s a reason it’s so precious. And a reason so many clichés stem from it. I mean, Michael Phelps doesn’t just dive into the pool a few hours before the Olympics. He spent years crafting his swimming ability—and he didn’t stop even after eight gold medals.

Book design, too, takes crafting and effort and work. So does promoting the book, and, lest we forget, writing it in the first place.

These are no easy skills, and not all of it is tangible. Which is the hardest part of all to teach.

But teach it we will, and I am looking forward to seeing the progress the students make by week’s end.

Because progress is what Dean Wesley Smith and I will be emphasizing to our students this week. Taking the time to do it well. Focusing on the goal. One step at a time.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.