The last year has been a rollercoaster with my writing career and my
day job as a librarian. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t
done a great job juggling the two. Although it’s worth doing both, it’s
not easy under the best circumstances, and I didn’t have the best
circumstances. I had been a librarian at the same college for the last
eight years and left that position to take a new job as a reference
librarian in a public library. It was frightening move, but one that I
had to make for my mental health and for my writing.
In my last job, I wasn’t happy or at least I wasn’t as
happy as I could have been. The position I was in was extremely
stressful. It wasn’t uncommon for me go home so upset about something
that had happened that day that I couldn’t do anything but go to bed. I
most certainly couldn’t write, which was a serious problem since in
2015 alone I was under contract to write five cozy mysteries: four for
Penguin Random House and one for Midnight Ink. The pressure of my day
job put me behind on my book deadlines, which only exacerbated my
overall stress. I knew I had to leave, but I was afraid.
You see, I’m not a big fan of change. I live two miles from
the house I grew up in and still attend the church where I was baptized
as an infant. The thought I leaving a job I knew so well and was so
good at, no matter the anxiety it caused, was terrifying.
Even more difficult to overcome than my fear was my love of
coworkers. Some of them I consider my very best friends, and I wasn’t
sure if I could leave them, especially when I knew my leaving would
make their circumstances worse.
But God nudged me. I was sitting at the reference desk at
my old library on a spring evening upset about something that I can’t
even remember now when I realized I needed to leave and God was telling
me to leave. Being my ever practical self, I refused to go until I had
another librarian job lined up because I knew that I loved being a
librarian too much just to walk away from the occupation completely.
When I made the decision, I had to ask myself what was most important
to me as a librarian. Was I willing to make less money? Was I willing
to have a position of less authority? The answer to both of those
questions was “yes” because what I love most about being a librarian is
helping people and that has nothing to do with wealth or power.
Quietly, I began to look for new librarian jobs. I only
applied for a handful. I was extremely picky, and I prayed, “Please, I
don’t want an interview if I don’t get the job.” Perhaps it was little
presumptuous to make such a request of God, but I’m a firm believer in
asking Him for exactly what you want. You might not get it. Trust me, I
haven’t always, but I have always asked without mincing words. I
figured He knows anyway, so why not be straight with Him when in
Of those few jobs I applied for, I got an interview for
only one, and it was perfect fit in the perfect place. I still can’t
believe that I was offered the job the day after the interview. I
immediately accepted the position. I make less money and have less
authority, but I’m happier than ever. I help patrons every day, work
with amazing people, and plan library events that enrich the community.
I feel like I’m a librarian again like I was at the beginning of my
career, and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful too that the new job
affords me not only much less stress, which makes it easier to write,
but a much shorter commute that affords me more time to write. And
those best friends I left behind, they are still with me. I may not see
them every day, but we haven’t lost touch and I no longer fear that we
will. I’m most grateful for that.
If I needed any more reassurance that God meant for me to
be an author/librarian, this change in my life would be it. So many
things had to fall perfectly into place to make this possible, and they
did. The first of those things was my ability to ignore my fear and
step out in faith, knowing no matter what the answer turned out to be
“yes,” “no,” or “not right now,” God had my best interest at heart and
would be there to catch me when I worked up the courage to jump.