Dream Job...and a Contest! -- by Delilah Devlin

I’ve been hard it for nearly two months, running toward multiple deadlines. I have 100 pages to go on the last contract, and I have to be done by September 1st. My whole focus has been on making page count. I’m late paying bills, haven’t returned phone calls to family and friends, and have hit the delete key to zap messages without opening them to see if they’re important. Oddly, I don’t feel particularly stressed and that worries me.

Has writing become a job? I know it really is my only job, but I never wanted to feel like it was. Since I began writing in 2000, I’ve followed my muse down whichever path she chose to lead me, sometimes writing stories I knew wouldn’t be as successful as others simply because they gave me pleasure.

With this last book, I felt that pleasure through the first third of the book. Not so much during the second. As I head toward the finish I have to figure out what’s missing.

So far the book has humor—tons of it actually. How could it not when it starts with a charity bachelor auction and is loosely based on my own experience at one a few months ago? It has sexy heroes—three to-die-for males, two of them deputy sheriffs who like to play BDSM games—so what’s not to love about them? The setting is a small, fictional town in my beloved Texas. That can’t be the problem.

Niggling at the back of my mind is the thought that maybe it’s the fact I’m working on books I’ve already conceived and I’m ready to start the creative part, the dreaming part of writing again. For me, it’s the most fun. The function of writing that feels least like “work” because I have complete freedom to daydream without producing a thing. I don’t know how the creative process works for other writers or where they get their ideas, but for me, ideas kind of float into my head, usually late at night when I’ve shut down the computer, watched a bit of one of my favorite TIVO’d shows (Eureka, Monk, House, L&O: Criminal Intent, Burn Notice), and I’m starting to fall asleep.

I start dreaming by picking up wherever I’ve left the story of my latest serial daydream. Maybe I’m a singer hiding in cowboy country from a stalker fan—that’s one of my favorites. I cower in a closet when the stalker breaks into my house, speed dial the cowboy-sheriff hero and whisper for help while the stalker draws ever closer. At some point I get bored with the favorite rescue fantasy and my mind drifts off—that’s when it hits me. The idea that grabs me by the throat and sends me scurrying to my desk to write down the details before they’re lost.

That hasn’t happened lately because I’m not dreaming about the tried and true stalker fantasy. I’m thinking about the next day’s scene and dialogue and my brains still mired in WORK. Okay, so I’m moaning about something that doesn’t seem like a problem, right? I do have to finish this book, but I so want to be excited about the next project so that it motivates me to sizzle right through the end of the current project.

Maybe you have some ideas how I can recover my excitement so late in the game. Or maybe you can tell me your favorite ways to let WORK go and just dream.

BTW—I received a box of books in the mail yesterday—my latest release, A HOT MAN IS THE BEST REVENGE, which includes stories from Shiloh Walker, Beverly Havlir and myself. If you post a response, you’ll be in the running to receive a free, signed copy. So put your thinking caps on!

A Hot Man is the best Revenge

34 Responses to Dream Job…and a Contest! — by Delilah Devlin

  1. Valerie

    Oh, I WISH I could let work go and dream. I’m a rather stressed full time worker and mummy and wife. I’ve got a slew of kids, it’s now almost time for school to start so all the paraphanalia needs to be bought. The youngest has a thing for High School Musical so we’Re running around town, looking for stuff with the faces of the actors and actresses on it…phew!!!

    I’m off to work in an hour….did I mention that I was stressed? Well, when I get home later, I’ll pop in and look to see what kinds of posts there are…maybe I’ll pick up some good tips myself.

    Wait…the only time I dream is on my train ride to work when I can get into a good book….yum!!!!

    Valerie

  2. Delilah Devlin

    Valerie!
    Sounds like you’ve got stress of another kind! Wow! Will I completely embarass myself if I admit I’ve watched High School Musical twice and no one had to tie me to the sofa? See you later!

  3. Gay

    Just wanted to pop in and say that I hope you never feel that your “job” creates so much stress that you choose to give up writing. I’ve always wanted to have the time to write; but never been able to take the plunge. I’m on holiday now and am spending time with my own personal romantic hero (my husband). We plan to play hard and have fun! Part of a relaxing holiday is reading books by people like you Delilah so keep dreaming up your heroes so that we may continue to live vicariously through others when we get the chance.

  4. Lisa

    Delilah sounds like you need a vacation to get your, ahem, “creative juices” running again. When something you enjoy starts feeling like work its time to take a breather. Can you get away for awhile? Maybe take a day, half a day, or just an hour. Get out of the house and do something just for you. Hang in there, we love you.

  5. Rasha

    I have to say that pressure is the motivator for me as opposed to routine. Once I go into a routine I could get stuck there forever. I would lose the ability to lift a finger and do even the simplest of tasks.

    Looking for motivation to go on, finding the passion behind the work, is hard. For me the job has to have a goal, even if it is a simple one. Satisfaction is important and so is getting yourself out of a lull.

    My advice to you is simple and obvious but very hard to obtain; hold on to the passion or look for it if it’s missing. I have to say that it does not seem to be a problem where you are concerned, but then again you would know better than anyone else. Do you realize how difficult it is to have the discipline to write in the first place let alone do it on daily bases? It would be draining.

    I have been telling myself for years now that I should start writing, just put ideas on paper but it is turning out to be very hard, at least for me.

    It may help you to find a new hobby or interest that has nothing to do with writing and do that for a bit, preferably something you have not done before or loved and left for a while now. It always worked to fuel my juices; then again I am the type of person who needs to keep moving to stay motivated, jobs, even countries.

  6. Delilah Devlin

    Gay!
    Enjoy the vacation and the hubby while you’re at it! LOL

    Lisa!
    Thanks so much. Time off? I wish. I have two weekends in September (after I turn the present work in progress in) that will be filled with fun things. First is a writer’s retreat in Oklahoma where I can brainstorm and commiserate with other writers. Then it’s Lora Leigh’s Readers Appreciation Weekend in Kentucky where I plan to play hard. Until then, I really do have to keep the old nose to the grindstone!

    Rasha!
    One bright spot this summer was the installation of an inground pool. I get out there and swim for an hour or two rain or shine (I only avoid it when there’s lightning!). It’s sooooo therapeutic, and I come back refreshed. I also bought a new digital camera and take it everywhere I go. One of my goals is to take more day trips and snap more pics of things I want to fill my stories with. I’ve made a few trips–Memphis, New York, a couple of graveyards here in Arkansas–but I’d like to do more. Thanks for the suggestions!

  7. Amy S.

    Hi DD! Reading always helps me when I am stressed. It could be a book on my keeper shelf or a new book but it always helps me.

  8. Valerie

    Back again, just got in from work. It’s late over here so won’t be around much.

    Oh, swimming is very relaxing, I love it, when I get the time. Of course having your own pool is ideal!!! Enjoyed the comments so far. Looks like most of us *readers* find our dreams and relief of stress through a good book. I’m thankful that authors like you share your dreams with us.

    Valerie

  9. Michelle B.

    Good luck with your writings I hope your muses are being helpful to you in your endeavors.

  10. Cathy M

    My favorite place to day dream, and let thoughts of work move way to the back of my brain, is to be around a lake or ocean ( not a swimming pool, sorry) lol. Just to take a walk and feel the breeze and smell the water can totally recharge me.

  11. PhyllisC

    I don’t have any suggestions on how to recapture the feeling that it’s not “work”. I just know that books are a great escape for me and the stress that I have from a full time job, being mom, nana and wife. I am in awe of people who can turn their ideas into stories that allow the rest of us an escape or just simply enjoyment by reading a good book. Hang in there – I’m sure you will recapture the feeling that you are looking for.

  12. Pamk

    my hubby built me a new deck on the house and I can’t wait to furnish it and add a pool. Then you’d never be able to get me in the house. I just lay in my lounger and read a book or surf the net. Hell house work would never get done. I want the pool so I can cool off an get some excercise.

  13. Deborah

    Hi Delilah! Sometimes I find that even if you love what you’re doing, it’s good to step away from it for awhile and indulge in some of your other hobbies or interests. I find that any kind of exercise – horseback riding, hiking, swimming, walking – helps me clear my mind, find new inspiration, and gets my “creative juices” flowing again.

    Try to remember how you’re going to feel after finishing your book. You’re going to be absolutely thrilled. Hold onto that feeling. It will encourage you to persist to the end. The end of one project is just the beginning of another project….and another chance to dream.

  14. Wilma

    Good luck with the writing. I’m an avid reader, always looking for new books to read. I’ll be watching for your new one.

  15. Delilah Devlin

    Amy!
    And such an obvious suggestion. Why didn’t I think of that. But it might get me depressed if I read something that totally blows me away. Maybe I should look for books I know I’ll hate! LOL

    Michelle!
    Thanks for stopping in to say hello!

    Cathy M!
    Hmmm…I have a pond in the back yard, but since it’s Arkansas and it’s been really wet the past week, I’d have to wear waders and shake the grass to keep the water moccasins and cottonmouths away!

    Phyllis!
    Thanks for the encouragment!

    PamK!
    If you can swing it, you’ll be amazed how much you love it. I don’t even mind that I added “pool girl” chores to my to do list. I hope in the pool with the net and skim bugs as I swim!! (Ugh! Today, I was skimming dead frogs.)

    Deborah!
    You’re absolutely right.

    Wilma!
    Ah ha! Be looking in November for the new cowboy book (Down in Texas). It got picked up by Doubleday, Rhapsody and Book of the Month Club for their November edition!!

  16. kh

    hot cover. congrats on the book. maybe a nice massage, pedicure or manicure.

  17. Caffey

    Hi Delilah! So appreciate you coming out to write us on the blog and give an update. You’ve been missed! I always asked in chats to authors ‘how do you do all you do!?’ I think its because I can’t see myself doing it all because I love to have some fun in between. With all these deadlines, did it take away from your fun times you had? May it be relaxing and reading, or taking your daily walks, your evening out with friends, etc? In other words, maybe the fun is not getting as much attention as the work is.

    Another thing is I sometimes can’t tell someone no. Partly because I do want to do it, but the time is cramped up already, but too, doing so much of it, doesn’t make it as fun anymore. So just evaluating all you are doing and seeing if you are taking on too much is another way.

    You know one thing I love to do, is go back to the non-technology and play a game with a group of girlfriends, like Scrabble, that will even bring out some words there that end up being some fantasy there but too, so much time to be with others you enjoy and doing it the old fashion way. Goes for the opposite too in taking a weekend trip to some where close by to just use it all for you!

    Don’t know if these will help the dreams come back but they sure are good for you! Keep dreaming Lauren!

  18. Delilah Devlin

    KH!
    Thanks! And I love a good massage. Had one recently at one of the hotels along the bath strip in Hot Springs. Told the guy to concentrate on my neck and shoulders, but he gave me the full body thing and kept playing with how and where he laid th sheet. Gave him a GREAT tip. 🙂

    Caffey!
    Yeah, lots of things fall by the wayside when I’m in deadline hell which I have been in for several months now. I RARELY go out. My main treat is a dip in the pool. Once in a blue moon I’ll go to my daughter’s for a BBQ and sit on her deck and listen to her. She’s a natural storyteller and a great mimic–she makes me laugh so much my sides ache. Ah well, 11 days to go and I can kiss this book goodbye, and maybe I’ll take a couple of days to do something that’s a total waste of time because I can!!

  19. Jennifer K.

    When I need to let go of work. I read. Sometimes I’ll get lost in a computer game, TV show or movie. But I find an activity that won’t let me think about work or whatever is bothering me. I often find that being around others helps.

  20. Guestauthor

    Jennifer!
    You must be an extrovert by nature. Being around others, calling a friend when you’re stressed, those are signs. I’m an introvert, so closing the door, turning off the email and ringer on the phone are ways I cope when I need to destress, but they haven’t been enough lately! I do reward accomplishment with a round of a computer game called “Chuzzle”!

  21. Jennifer K.

    I’m actually more an introvert. But there are times when I need people to help me pull out of stewing or stressing or whatever.

  22. Debby Creager

    You need to take a mini vacation. Go have a massage and a pedicure. You will feel 100% better and more ready to get back to work.
    Debby

  23. Guestauthor

    Jennifer K!
    I can understand needing a shove out of the deep dark hole every now and then.

    Debby!
    Maybe I’ll be able to get one in before I head off the Lora Leigh’s weekend next month!

  24. Guestauthor

    Thanks to everyone who came by and gave me such wonderful suggestions! I’m down to 78 pages now and starting to feel the buzz again. May have something to do with the heroine who’s getting her corset strings stuck in the garbage disposal. Ahem!

    So, I’ve chosen a winner….and it’s Valerie! Valerie, be sure to send me your snail mail address and I’ll get a package out to you soon! DD

  25. Valerie

    Oooooh!!! Thanks!!!!!

    Valerie

  26. kh

    wtg valrie

  27. Debbie Reed

    If I were anywhere near where you lived I would bring my massage table and give you a very soothing massage. I am a Massage Therapist-BTW. I have found that by taking a break and reading someone elses work or by getting a massage and just shutting it off for a while my brain seems to rejuvinate. Kinda like rebooting your computer, after it’s been on awhile.
    Good Luck and can’t wait until the next book.

  28. Guestauthor

    A massage? Why didn’t I think of that?! thanks for the suggestion. 🙂 DD

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    my dad is a massage therapist and he can really relieve minor pains and injuries ,:-

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