“Maybe Someday” Just Isn’t Soon Enough

By Diane Stark

I’m a list person. I have a To-Do list for just about every aspect of my life. I have a list for chores that need to be done around the house. I have another list for tasks that need to be accomplished at my job as a kindergarten teacher. I have a list of things that my children need me to do for them. And, of course, I have a list of writing projects that I’d like to get done.

Unfortunately, my Writing To-Do list often falls to the bottom of the most important list: my list of priorities. These projects are often pushed into the “Maybe Someday” category. And we all know how easily “maybe someday” can turn into “how about never.”

I’m rather embarrassed to admit this, but a major publishing house showed interest in the sample chapters of my romance novel. I was thrilled when I received the letter that they wanted to see the rest of the manuscript. That letter arrived three months ago, and the editors there are still waiting to see the completed book.

But it’s not for lack of trying. Well, not for lack of thinking anyway. I think about my novel every single day. I think, “I should be writing,” but other things always get in the way.

“Today’s the day,” I announce nearly every morning. “Today I’m going to finish my novel and finally send it out.”

But, at the end of each day, I have washed 7 loads of laundry, played 3 games of Candy Land, changed more than a dozen diapers, and otherwise exhausted any creativity I might have ever possessed.

After one of those days, when I finally hit the sheets, I pulled a book from my nightstand. The book, Life Lessons for Women, was published by the good people at Chicken Soup for the Soul. Ironically, I had received the book as a gift from them for being their featured author in a book signing event for the Girl’s Soul book. (That was written back when I still had more brain cells than nursing pads.)

As I snuggled under the covers, I cracked open the book and read this quote by Annie Dillard: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Those words hit me hard. I was spending my days – and therefore, my life – on what? Dirty dishes and diapers? Not that I don’t love being a mother; quite the opposite. Being a mother to my kids is the most important thing I’ll ever do. But it’s not all I intend to do.

I feel complete when I write. Seeing my words in print is one of the biggest highs I’ve ever experienced. I feel like I’m a better mother when I write – it’s the one thing I do for myself. That quote made me realize that I need to make my writing more of a priority. How I spend each day reflects my priorities, and I need to put myself higher on the list. I need to make time in each day to be me. Not me, the mother, the caregiver, sometimes even – gasp – the martyr, but me, the writer.

I needed to make a new list, a list that ensured that I would find time to meet my obligations, as well as achieve my dreams. I don’t want my publishing dreams to remain a “someday” thing. I’ll regret it forever if I do.

I want to do something more with my days than keep a house clean and my kids happy. I want to write, about my kids, about my life, about my world. I want people to read what I’ve written and see truth in my words. And maybe even see a piece of themselves.

Writing is something I need to do. It’s how I want to spend my days – and my life.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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