One of the benefits of becoming an adult is getting to do what you want. Right? As an adult, I will eat all the candy I want, stay up as late as I want, and go where I want with whomever I want. In theory, that is what most people wish for, freedom. But the second we get a job, make a friend or join a club or group, that freedom gets curtailed. We’re not even talking about having kids, which squelches freedom for at least eighteen years. For most people, the benefits of job security, the companionship of a relationship, and, yes, the thrills of parenthood are all worth losing some of our independence.

The older I get, the more I value those days, hours, and even minutes of unencumbered, no-guilt freedom. But for me, the tug and pull of liberty vs. obligation, responsibility, and accountability never stop, which is where I get to my writing. Yes, this is a blog on writing, the down-and-dirty, get my-butt-in-the-chair, no-more Sudoku kind of writing. The kind of writing where my procrastination dealer lurks on the corner tempting me with a hit of family life, friends, church activities, pickleball, hobbies, dog walking, and weed picking (I’m joking about the weed picking). I confess I am an addicted procrastinator, but I am trying to change that. And my number one help is another of my addictions, my writing group.

I wrote a little about my writer’s group in my last blog. So, I thought I’d elaborate on the role they play in the process of writing a book and getting it published. As noted previously, the members meet via phone every two weeks or, when we’re lucky, in person twice a year for our writing retreats. Although the writing retreats are amazing, inspirational, and book-changing, the every two- week routine is the backbone of the group’s success and my hope for improvement.

The five pages we submit are reviewed, critiqued, and occasionally lauded by each group member. Meaning, on the flip side, I am critiquing twenty pages every two weeks. It is a responsibility I take seriously, and unless I’m overseas or in a coma, I reply. This is a choice that limits my free time and theirs, but the feedback is invaluable, and this obligation is something I look forward to. We have become partners in each other’s writing journey and invested in each other’s characters.

We shiver with Amy Laundrie’s two girls “Stranded on Castaway Island” discovering man-sized footprints and learning they’re not alone. Why is he hiding, and why doesn’t he help them?

We laugh and cringe with Casey’s “Invisible Kit,” a new girl in middle school and, even worse, a pastor’s daughter.

Mary’s marriage saga explores the struggles of two people reaching different junctures in life. Our hearts break wondering if Christian forgiveness can overcome their past betrayals and heartaches.

And Shirley’s biography turned memoir turned historical fiction is a sobering read into the realities of a Wisconsin family’s survival during the Depression.

Each story inspires and motivates me to keep writing. You might notice that none of these women write mysteries like “Obedient unto Death.” But the essential elements of a story carry through in any genre, believable characters, excitement and wonder, and unexpected twists and turns.

So I write, fighting my craving to go for a walk, turn on the tv, or start a new round of solitaire. I admit I still give in to my procrastination. But, my accountability group looms in the back of my mind as I look at the date two weeks from today highlighted on my calendar. I know they’ll be waiting. Don’t I want to know what they think of my plot, characters, and setting? Don’t I want to know if I surprised them or got them speculating? Don’t I want to know if Kit makes a friend, Clara survives childbirth, Ben has a change of heart, or how those horses got on a deserted island?

Yes, Yes, I do, thank you.