Writing to Write

I am suffering from “what do I write about” anxiety. I joined a group that offers a weekly topic. This week’s topic is, in essence, “if your friends were going to tell your secrets, which ones would they tell?” Jeez, I don’t know. And if I want them to remain secrets, I’m not going to write about them here! Actually, I think it was more like… things about me that I try to hide but that everyone can see. So I want to write about that in a funny way, but I’m stuck, so I’ll let it sit another day.

I’ve been thinking about writing a lot lately. Thinking about my “voice”, thinking about what kind of writing I want to do. I like this journal-type stuff. I can do the business/technical writing. I enjoy the kind of writing that requires me to thinking fully about something and then write my theories about it. I haven’t written much fiction since I was a teenager, so I don’t even know how I feel about that. I like to write poetry, but I only feel compelled to write it when I’m feeling some really intense emotion, usually pain.

Most guides will say, “Write what you know.” How does that jive with fiction vs. non-fiction? I guess in the subject matter one chooses to write about in either field. I am more comfortable with the idea of writing non-fiction, which perversely makes me think I should explore writing fiction more. I’m just afraid I will sit down to write a story and have nothing to say. I don’t worry about that as much with non-fiction, because there I can fall back on opinion, and I always have one of those.

I want to take some of the next year to really build writing skills. I’m not entirely sure how to nurture that. I’m working through “The Artist’s Way,” but that’s more about uncovering my creativity. I’m wanting something that also works on the nuts-and-bolts of writing, from beginning to end. Any suggestions?

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