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Others can see we are writers sometimes before we can.

Is it writer’s block if you just don’t see yourself as a writer, no matter what anyone says.

Years ago, I went for career counseling. I was working as a social worker with drug addicts and alcoholics—and didn’t know where to go from there. (Interestingly– everyone at work saw me a writer. They would say, “We can really see the person you’ve seen– I know exactly who I am getting as a patient.)

I heard someone on the radio—the wife of N. Richard Nash, who wrote the Rainmaker among other literary works. She told me that we would have six sessions and then she would point out a direction for me to take. But at the start of the second session, she said, “This will be our last session.”

I was confused—“But I thought we’d have six sessions. What happened?”

She responded, “ I know what you should do and there is no point in continuing and taking your money.”

“What should I be?” I choked out.

“A screenwriter.”

“What? I am a social worker.”

“Look,” she said, “I know what I am talking about. I am married to a screenwriter and I have lots of them over for Sunday dinner each week. You are one of them.”

“I don’t get it.”

“When you speak I see exactly what you are talking about,” she said. “You are a screenwriter whether you are writing or not. Go and write a screenplay and I’ll give it to my husband.”

I left, puzzled. My self-esteem didn’t allow me to consider the idea, and having a contact in Hollywood made me uncomfortable. That just wasn’t me. Even later, when I actually wrote two plays, had a reading and a friend offered to produce it in Los Angeles, I got terrified and said “no.”

I write poems comfortably. I have read publicly and I just entered a contest. For me, that’s progress. The next is to have the self-esteem to send the poems to publishers.

I still find it hard to see myself as a screenwriter or even a novelist. I think I am trespassing. More of that later.

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