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ROW80 Check-in: Pleasure Reading & Handwritten Journals

Greenman door knocker at Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, TX (photo by Tui Snider)
Greenman door knocker at Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, TX (photo by Tui Snider)

What is ROW80?

ROW80 is kinda like an online weight loss support group for writers, except that rather than losing anything, we’re here to support each other in gaining more and more words. For a more coherent explanation check out the official ROW80 website.

My ROW80 Round 3 Goals:

Post a ROW80 Check-in each Wednesday: I got sick, missed a few days of work, and got behind on everything last week. Oh well! I’m here now, aren’t I?

Two blog posts per week: See above…

Keep up with Candace Havens Fast Draft group: I’m happy with my progress in this online class which focuses on cranking out what Anne Lamotte famously refers to as a, “shitty first draft.” I’ve quit writing in the early mornings and have begun hopping into Fast Draft for 2 to 2 1/2 hours each night after work. The words are really piling up: 67,531 words, so far. Even though it’s a very, very messy first draft, I’m beginning to feel the shape of the story and its themes, which makes the whole process so exciting!

Continue hosting #StoryDam chat from 8-9pm CST on Twitter each Thursday evening.  Even when I think I’m too tired to pull it off, this writing chat always turns out to be a lot of fun. If you’re a writer, please join us. It’s a fun, friendly group and it always leaves me smiling and inspired. If you’re not sure how to participate in a Twitter chat, check out my post, Top Tips for Chatting on Twitter.

Comment on at least 10 other ROW80 blogs each Monday & promote posts that I find helpful: I’ve totally slacked on the blog commenting, but have been promoting other folk’s posts on Twitter.

Comment on commenters: Here again, I am slacking. I need to make time to comment on the blogs of those who comment on mine!

Explore Texas: I’m still doing this each Sunday. Well, this past Sunday, my husband and I explored a nearby bookstore where I splurged on a bunch of books. Speaking of reading, this leads right into two new items that I’m adding to my ROW80 goals:

Engage in Pleasure Reading Every Day: As previously mentioned, I just splurged on a bunch of books. I’m going to read a little bit each evening – just for fun. Daily pleasure-reading is a lifelong pleasure that I’ve been neglecting for the past few years. It’s high time I revived it! Who knows? I may even start reviewing books on my blog.

Keep a Handwritten Diary: This is also something I did for years, but with the coming of the word processor, I began keeping my journal in digital form. Considering how many times I have moved, it makes sense. After all, a digital diary safely stored in a laptop is much more portable than boxes and boxes of handwritten journals of all shapes and sizes. Well, to heck with common sense! As impractical as it may be and as much as I love my word processor, there is just something special about writing by hand. After years of being a digital diary keeper, I finally caved to this niggling inner voice and began a new handwritten journal on Sunday.

ROW80 Linky:

That’s how my writing goals are going. How are yours coming along? Here are links to all the other Row80 participants. Check them out:

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. Kim Kim

    Wow! Way to go with the Fast Draft progress.

    I love your goals list. I want to start exploring around my state now, too–I think I’m going to copy you. Also with the daily pleasure reading, because when I get busy I push that aside, but then I get cranky.

    I go back and forth between journaling on the computer and in a notebook, so my stuff is a little scattered, but sometimes I want to do it one way and sometimes the other. I agree with you about the written journal, though. There really is something deeply pleasing about putting pen to paper. Enjoy!

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Thanks, Kim!

      I hope you do start exploring your home state. Speaking of, which state would that be? Keep me posted! I love travel blog posts.

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who gets cranky when deprived of her pleasure-reading time. It’s so important!

      Like you, I’ve been going back and forth on the digital vs handwritten thing. After moving from place to place so much, I decided to make my journal entirely digital… but it just doesn’t work as well, even though it makes sense on so many levels.

      Thanks for dropping by and saying hi! :)


  2. I love the energy of your check in. I haven’t even attempted to do Row80 check ins with my crazy Summer Schedule. In about three weeks, I’ll be right there beside you.


    You always delight me!

  3. Loved your post this week. I’m from Texas and I love seeing the places you’ve gone when you tweet about them. Sometimes I know exactly where the place and sometimes I think, where’s that? I should do this while I’m still here in Washington, but it’s so hard to make time!

    I love keeping a hand-written journal, though I don’t write in it everyday like I want to. I love and cringe at the idea of my niece or some random stranger finding my journals and reading all about my life. But there’s something about putting the words down in ink on paper that a digital journal can’t match.

    Love the #StoryDam chats. Hope I can make it this week.

  4. Good job, Tui! Reign in those words with Fast Draft! Isn’t it a bucket of fun? I cant wait for Camp Nano to start so that I can apply the Fast Draft techniques to it. Should be a load of fun.

    I love your comment about how ROW80 is an online weight loss support group, but for adding more words. It’s just a touch silly, but really accurate. ‘specially since so many of us are cheerleader types…

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Dahnya,

      Whoopity whoop! Yup – Fast Draft with Candace Havens is a hoot and a half. I enjoy the group energy so much!

      I’m debating camp NaNo for August… I may have to wait, since I could be in Revision Hell at that time, instead.

      As for your remark that my comparison is, “a touch silly, but accurate,” I think you are right on the money! One could even say “silly but accurate,” is my M.O.

      I like that there are so many cheerleaders in our writerly midst. Speaking of, best wishes on your #wip!


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