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Row80: Texas Travel Inspiration

Prickly pear cactus dots the north Texas landscape. (photo by Tui Snider)
Prickly pear cactus dots the north Texas landscape. (photo by Tui Snider)

What is ROW80?

ROW80 is short for A Round of Words in 80 Days. It was created by the author, Kait Nolan, who describes it as, “an online writing challenge that knows you have a life.”

Basically, ROW80 is a way for writers to connect online and share progress on their writing goals. Click on the aforementioned link for more information.

ROW80 Check-In

With the latest ROW80 round coming to a close, it’s time to reassess my writing goals for the round starting on July 2nd.

I must confess, this round really got away from me. The good news is that I wrote every single day and wound up with even more exciting writing projects than when I started.

As for the bad news, my day job struck ike a tidal wave and I didn’t achieve all my goals. Let’s just leave it at that!

So… my main goal for ROW80 Round 3?

Clear, concise, measurable goals. Yes, – laugh if you must – but my main goal for the upcoming ROW80 round is exactly that: better goals.

Here’s how it’s been going:  Tuesday through Saturday, I work at my husband’s boat shop. Since March, I’ve gone from knowing absolutely nothing about fixing boats to knowing next to nothing – a tremendous improvement!

Spring is always busy for the boat shop, but this year, it’s been crazy.  It’s often 8 or 9 p.m. by the time we get home, shower and eat.

Needless to say, we’re both pretty wiped out by then. Sometimes, we’re too tired to even eat dinner, so we just go straight to bed.

Yup. We’re a couple of rock stars – wheee!

My Early Morning Online Writing Partner

During the work week, I write from 5-6 a.m. each morning. My friend, Morgan, meets me on Twitter at that early hour and has been a wonderfully supportive writing partner. We’ve never met in person, but I love her! (Gotta love the internet, right?)

We use the hashtags #earlyword #wordmongering to chat on Twitter at the top and bottom of the hour. The rest if the time we write, although – full disclosure here –  I have been known to nod off at the keyboard some mornings.

What can  I say? I’m naturally quite the night owl, but I get cranky and depressed if I don’t write every day, so this is the best I can do at the moment.

If you’re a writer who is awake and writing at 5am CST, feel free to join us on Twitter! I’m @mentalmosaic and Morgan is @MDragonwillow.

Even Home is a Travel Destination

Something that surprised me about this ROW80 round is that I keep coming up with more and more book ideas! Some are more developed than others, but I’m jotting all of them down.

Now, for instance, instead of just working on my memoir about living off the grid on a tiny island with a population of seven people, I’ve started working on two travel books:

1. A book on fun day trips for the Dallas – Fort Worth region of Texas.

Since moving to Texas in the fall of 2009, I’ve been snatching up every book I can find on the subject of Dallas – Fort Worth (DFW) day trips. I’ve discovered some good books, but I haven’t found one that really digs into the overlooked-but-interesting places around here that are so fun to explore. I think there is a real need for such a book.

Even though he’s lived in the DFW area for over 20 years, Larry says I’m constantly showing him interesting places that he had no idea existed nearby, such as:

A statue of Jesus wearing Cowboy Boots, in Paris, Texas

A gazebo made of petrified wood in Glen Rose, Texas

A Hindu palace in Dallas, Texas

Just to name a few!

That’s why I’ve decided to write a Texas road trip book of my own. I’m thinking of releasing it in ebook form, with easily printable itineraries and GPS friendly addresses to save people the frustrations Larry and I have had trying to find these places. (It can be really challenging to find some of these sites!)

2. A book on interesting and/or historical cemeteries in north Texas.

There are many beautiful, historical and/or  unique cemeteries in north Texas, but they, too, are often difficult to find. Good thing that Larry is patient and I am stubborn!

Once again, I’d like to release an eBook with photos and GPS friendly addresses to these interesting graveyards in Texas so that other people can enjoy exploring them, too.

How are your writing projects going?

How is your writing going? Below are links to other Row80 writers. Check them out, y’all. I plan to!

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. Thanks for the shout out, and I love you right back! Maybe someday we will be able to meet in person. I have one question, what happened to your memoir? You didn’t give up on it did you? I put mine on the back burner for editing but I am still going to finish it.

    My priorities changed when I realized at the Lake House that I needed to write my Opening to Miracles for writers. I am hoping to sell it at my workshops and Christie thinks it is an important book for writers. We shall see.

    I have never thought of Texas as somewhere I would want to explore but you always inspire me to do just that. :)

    Peace Blogging/Writing Sister,

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Morgan,

      I haven’t given up on my memoir – but I’m not happy with its structure, so it’s on the back burner. I plan to come up with a fabulous writing schedule for ROW80 round 3 and will pull it off the back burner then!

      Glad you are still working on your memoir. I can hardly wait to read it!

      Honestly, I’d never thought of exploring Texas, either. Once I moved here, though, I discovered that it’s a fascinating state. :)

      I bet we’ll meet in person sooner than we think! :)


  2. I would SO love to explore the old cemeteries with you… in real life or via books. I love to explore local ones and take pictures when possible (my camera has been having battery issues lately). And if you ever make that book for the little details of Texas, I will have to trade you for the one I keep intending to make of the little details in NY (the state, not the city).

    Sorry about the chaos and exhaustion this year, but so glad you’ve been being filled with more and more ideas and writing. >>HUGS<<

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Eden,

      I’d love having you as a cemetery exploration buddy. People often look at me funny when I tell them I enjoy visiting historical graveyards in Texas – but I find them beautiful, fascinating & a great link to history.

      Let me know if/when you get your book on NY together. :)

      Thanks for stoppping by. :)


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