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Sunday, February 2, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

I came across a quote by Vincent Van Gogh that gave me a lot to think about. "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."

This year 2020 is the anniversary of the 19th amendment that guaranteed women the constitutional right to vote. The passage of the amendment was a series of events over a number of years by women and men. In Colorado, in 1893 women were given the same right via a referendum to the state constitution, the first state to do so.

As we traverse this year, there are probably so many things we want to do. Of course, writing the 'great novel' is a wonderful idea, but it doesn't just fly from our mind to the page. It takes small bits that add up to the whole.

Before I had my first story published, other than a suspense short in a regional magazine, I had a daily practice of writing seventeen syllables daily, that went to five days a week. This led to over one thousand haiku that were posted along with a photo I took. 

Rosita Colorado Ghost Town
Rosita Colorado in Custer County (setting for the upcoming novel)
I am now working on a novel, and at least six days a week I work on it. Sometimes I'll add a thousand words, sometimes fifty. Each word leads me to the goal of finishing the story.

The point is, to get to where we wish to go requires we start the journey and add that 'series of small things' to reach our destination. Remember all the small steps that led to the beginning of the suffrage movement. Each of those steps led to the next and next. Colorado not only had women doctors who came to set up a practice here due to the healthy climate but for many, it was to help women win the right to vote.

Take your great ideas and build them step by step. Write those stories and follow those dreams. The year is just starting and who knows where your steps will lead.

I recently updated my Amazon author page biography on both the US and UK sites. A small step, but they do add up. updated biography

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet


  1. Great advice. Better to take a tiny step by writing fifty words, than feel you've failed by not writing more. I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

    1. You are welcome. I truly do believe that what we need shows up if we're open. When I read the quote, it hit me up the side of the head. If I am affected that strongly it usually means someone else may benefit. Doris

  2. Replies
    1. You are welcome. I think sometimes we share advice we need to hear ourselves or it's something we've found works for us. Doris

  3. I adhere to the theory of baby steps, which is similar to your idea of small steps. Baby steps keeps me moving forward, which gives me those little rewards of success that I accomplished 'something' toward my goal (whatever that goal may be).

    1. So true, so true. It we don't move forward we never get to where we're going, and for me small steps allow me to adjust along the way. I like that. Doris

  4. I think there's a saying that goes something like this or very similar: one step a journey makes. Our days are measured by minutes and tasks by lists, so a story evolves by writing down a word, one after the other. I'd better get busy. Thanks for the incentive, Doris.

    1. You are very welcome, Elizabeth. We just have to get startee. *Smile* Doris

  5. I totally agree with the small steps to get to something big, Doris. I started writing poetry when I was nine years old--not great poetry, by the way, but a start. After that I wrote short stories. I love writing short stories. Years went by before any of them were published. When I finally took a leap to write a novel and then succeeded in getting that published. Just like you, I write something either big or small every day. Sometimes I do research or try out different loglines or blurbs, but ultimately these little pieces of work culminate into something big.
    Good words on this blog, Doris.
    All the best...

    1. Thank you Sarah. It seems we just have to get what's in our hearts and minds onto paper. Once we start, it takes on a life that leads us to so many wonderful places. Continued sucess to you. Doris