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Friday, July 1, 2011

It's A Balancing Act by Lynn Reynolds

Hello, everyone, and thanks to Rie for having me here today. Rie has asked me to write about balancing real life with online life. That would be a good topic if only I had figured out how to do it!

Just today I decided that I would spend more time doing “real writing” (by which I mean books, articles and the like) and less time goofing off online (by which I mean obsessively commenting on everyone’s status at Facebook). I read about a great new program designed to lock you out of social networking websites for several hours. You set a timer in the program, and until the timer expires, the program won’t let you check your email or Facebook or YouTube or (if you get truly desperate) MySpace. What grand visions I had of how much I would accomplish today!

As you probably can guess, the program didn’t work – or it worked, but not as advertised. Every five minutes without fail, it kept requiring me to re-enter an administrator password. The only way to shut the program timer down once it’s running is to completely shut off the computer. But then it froze, something Macs almost never do, and I couldn’t even get it to shut down. Sigh. When I finally shut it down and restarted, the first thing I did was – you guessed it – delete that brilliant new program. I probably would’ve saved more time if I’d just checked everyone’s status at Facebook like I usually do.

My point here – and I do have one – is that no one can really help you figure out how to separate online from real life. I’m not sure the two things are separate anymore. For example, I rarely talk to anyone on the phone these days. Most friends contact me through Facebook, and business associates contact me via email. For good or ill, we will all have to learn how to integrate our real life with our online life.

For me, the simplest solution has proven to be the best one when it comes to achieving balance. I set myself a modest goal of 1,000 words a day on weekdays. Once I write that many words, I can be done. If I’m on a roll, sometimes I’ll write more; if it’s a rough day, I struggle to get that many on paper – and I make sure not to re-read them, lest I despair and tear them all up. Lately, I’ve had a lot of rough days, but these things go in cycles. The important thing is to keep writing, and to do that first – before going off to check everyone’s status or to visit blogs -- even delightful ones like this one!

I think it’s also important to make time for physical activity. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout. A lot of the time, a short walk around the neighborhood can really help clear my mind and re-invigorate me.

It’s probably also a good idea to set a time limit for when to get off. I definitely try to get off the computer by supper time, so that I’m not ignoring my own family in order to dwell in the virtual world. Speaking of which, I have to go now – the family’s calling me to supper and movie night.

And speaking of supper, here’s a tasty little sample from my new novel, Love Capri Style. Since it’s set on the Mediterranean island of Capri, there’s lots of delicious Italian food, plus plenty of romantic scenery. Buon appetito!

Amanda Jackson only took the job with Fame magazine to get closer to her estranged father, billionaire publisher Peter Tate. Instead of welcoming her, Dad sends her out of the country, to cover a music festival on the magnificent isle of Capri. There Amanda finds herself up close and personal with her dad’s leading competitor – dashing British playboy Eric Greyford. Can she get an exclusive on Eric’s hectic love life, or will she wind up as just another item on the gossip pages of his newspaper? 
Amanda turned her attention to the array of dishes spread out before them.
"What's this one?" She pointed her fork at some little yellow dumpling shapes.
"That, my dear, is saffron gnocchi with shaved truffles."
Amanda gaped at him, then let loose with a full, throaty laugh. "Wow, you pull out all the stops to impress a woman, don't you?"
"Only some women." He looked away again, at the tablecloth, as if he'd embarrassed himself.
Amanda pretended she hadn't heard him and concentrated her attention on the food. "That sounds decadent. I've got to have it."
The gnocchi melted in her mouth, leaving a savory tang on her tongue. Amanda gave a little shiver, her eyes flickering shut with sheer delight. The food, the starry sky above – even if she went home without a story and got fired, at least she'd always have the memory of this night and this dinner. With this man. When she opened her eyes, Eric's gaze burned into her own, his blue the cold, deep color of the ocean that lay beyond their little haven amongst the fairy lights. He stared at her with an intensity that made her feel naked and defenseless.
Oh, he would be fierce in bed. Maybe even a little rough, domineering. Sometimes being a control freak could be a good thing, though. Amanda struggled to swallow past a lump in her throat.
Eric leaned forward and spoke, his voice low and husky with restrained desire.
"I told you you're a woman of strong appetites. I intend to satisfy all of them."

Author Bio:

Lynn Reynolds is a city girl trapped in Green Acres. She’s a writer, wife and mom – although not necessarily in that order. Her secret ambition is to be a wench at the Renaissance Faire. RT Book Reviews called her romantic suspense novel Thirty-Nine Again “… a first-class mystery . . . and a first-class read.”  Visit her at www.lynnreynolds.com.

Buy links:
There are buy links for my books at my own website, or you can order them from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or The Wild Rose Press.

Lynn Reynolds at The Wild Rose Press

Lynn Reynolds at Barnes & Noble

Lynn Reynolds at Amazon

Visit my website at http://www.lynnreynolds.com

I'm on Facebook way too much of the time. Friend me there at https://www.facebook.com/authorlynnreynolds

I don't blog often, but I am a regular contributor to the PopCultureDivas blog at http://www.thepopculturedivas.com/

My own blog can be found at http://lynnreynolds.blogspot.com/