By Corey Minor Smith
I'll do it tomorrow...The next day, I'll do it tomorrow...The next day, I'll do it tomorrow. Time and time again, I tell myself, I'll do it tomorrow as I take a shower and fall exhausted in my bed. I struggle to fall asleep for at least an hour and a half as my mind juggles a thousand thoughts of what I forgot to do that day and what I have to do the next day. Often, I think about how to organize my time to get the most things possible completed. It is as if I have an in-exhaustive list of "things to do."
Above all, I want to get my manuscript published. The thought of writing a book has been with me since I was 16. In 2012, I finally committed time to get my story written and developed a focus group to review the manuscript. Members of the group signed confidentiality agreements and were to have their suggestions for revisions to me by the end of February, 2013.
At that point in my life I wanted more for my career, more than being “just an attorney.” I struggled to fall asleep and to stay asleep each night. Each day at work, I felt exhausted. After weeks of not sleeping well, I decided to investigate what it would take to pursue another career goal. In addition to being an attorney, I had goals of being an author, professional speaker and a court room judge.
On February 5, 2013, I inquired about local judgeship terms in an effort to organize next steps for my career. After making inquiries and accumulating information, I decided to run for Judge of Canton (Ohio) Municipal Court. But I faced an immediate challenge: the filing deadline for the election was the next day, February 6, 2013.
My mind began to race with thoughts, yet my body froze with anxiety...You say you wanna be a Judge one day...It's here right now. What are you gonna do? You said you want it. What are you gonna do? I had less than 24 hours to make a decision. I gathered myself, shook off any remaining anxiety and went to the Board of Elections to pull a petition. Ninety-nine signatures later and with an hour to spare, I filed my petition as the first African American female candidate for Judge of the Canton Municipal Court.
After a whirlwind of events, fairs, parades, dinners and programs, I received one-third of the votes in the general election against a twenty year incumbent. After the election, I just wanted to breathe. I wanted to take a moment to "smell the roses" as many people have suggested that I do throughout my school and legal career. I was and still am elated at the opportunity I dared to take.
Meanwhile, my manuscript complete with revisions based on the suggestions of the focus group (which they finally submitted to me) continues to sit on the top shelf of my closet collecting dust. Children, demanding school/work obligations and life in general have controlled my life since I was a young adult. Time rolls by with the hour, minute and second hands rapidly circling the clock as the seasons change in fast forward. It seem like I've forgotten about my manuscript.
Although I've been to speaking workshops, seminars and presentations and I've even presented nationally and internationally, my manuscript still sits on the shelf. Two years have come and nearly gone. The desire to publish my manuscript slowly diminishes to just a thought. And then I got this nudge: would you be a guest columnist for our newsletter? I accepted the offer. I wrote. Now, it is time to get out of my own way, grab the manuscript that has sat too long on the top shelf of my closet, wipe the dust off and get the manuscript published.
Corey Minor Smith earned her Bachelors and Masters from Bowling Green State University followed by a Juris Doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law. Currently serving as Director of Legal Services for Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority, Corey is an active board member of the Stark Community Action Agency and the Red Cross. Honored for her accomplishments and commitment to the community, Corey received the Boy Scouts Spirit of Scouting award, Stark County’s Twenty Under 40 and ATHENA International Leadership Finalist Award. This proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. is a sought-after speaker after presenting nationally and internationally.