Every Writer Needs a Rita – Talking Yourself Down Off the Ledge



Recently I had an out-of-sorts day and could have easily (I mean easily) headed toward the ledge. Writer’s block. Ugh. But rather than going for the ledge-balancing act, I took a walk to sort out my out-of-sorts condition. One could just go to the hardware store and buy sorts if you find yourself out of sorts, but the only sorts they stock are short term ones.

Sorting works better than ledging.

What exactly is sorting, you ask?

Try a little air, a little movement, and asking yourself questions. Is it real or true? What am I feeling? Where am I feeling it? What is my body saying? Where is my body tight, grumpy, in pain? I stretched my mind as I stretched my legs. I made room for the bad/sad feelings and didn’t focus on forcing them to go away or stuff them.

Stuffing: bad.

Sorting: good.
Through the walking/sorting process, I realized I needed some mothering, some support, and realizing that, I knew what to do. I called on Rita.

Rita is a voice in my head. We all have voices in our heads (quit rolling your eyes). You know what I’m talking about. As goofy as it may sound, I give them names: Priscilla Productivity, Garbage Voice, and Sarah Slacker are probably the most prominent. They are, as you can well imagine, not nice voices, but they can be oh so loud in my head: youre not good at this, youre not doing it right, you should be doing ______ (fill in the blank), youre not good enough.

That voice of “you’re not good at this” sits in a chair next to me when I try to work on my manuscript. Writing my blogs? I can do. Working on my manuscript? The voice of “don’t bother” goes for my jugular every time “we” are at the computer.

But last year a new voice showed up, thank God. It was the one and only Rita. She is my loving protector, takes care of me, nurtures me, watches out for me and always has my back. She’s big, buxom, and bold, and when another voice is giving me a hard time, she gets up in his or her face and politely kicks them to the curb, then helps me down off the ledge.

She has appeared twice now in the flesh, as a SuperShuttle driver last September and last week as a Goodwill employee. I stopped by the Goodwill close to home and dropped off some items. Before I could unpack them out of the back of my car, a woman brought a cart around to the car and helped me with my delivery. We had a great conversation and a good laugh about the items.

She gave me the receipt and then said, “Thank you for making a difference in a life today.” I was so taken aback, I said, “Really?” to which she simply responded, “Yes.”

I asked her if I could hug her, and asked her for her name. Ms. Pat, she informed me as she gave me the best motherly hug I’ve had in quite some time. I told her my name and thanked her for making my day and left.

She was a Rita incarnation if ever I’ve seen one, and a reminder to me to call on Rita whenever I feel the need, but especially when I’m in writer mode. She believes in me. She makes a difference in my life. Who is your Rita? If you don’t have one, it’s time to find one. A little good will goes a long way.


Jeanne Guy Gatherings
Explore~Reframe~Restory Your Life
Reimagining Your Life Through Reflective Writing
www.jeanneguy.com

8 responses to “Every Writer Needs a Rita – Talking Yourself Down Off the Ledge

  1. Love this! I have struggled with my inner critic and read many accounts of other writer’s struggles with their inner critics… but your piece here is the first time I have read of an inner supporter. Thank you!

  2. Love the word play and the insight.

    On Oct 31, 2016 5:10 AM, “Telling HerStories: The Broad View” wrote:

    > SCN Blogger posted: ” Recently I had an out-of-sorts day and could have > easily (I mean easily) headed toward the ledge. Writer’s block. Ugh. But > rather than going for the ledge-balancing act, I took a walk to sort out my > out-of-sorts condition. One could just go to the hardw” >

  3. Very interesting. I have a voice or two living in my head, and I say that so that I can affirm that we all have them. Some of them are negativity gremlins and some are judgment gremlins, but recently some attagirl attitude has joined them. Long live voices.

    Lynn
    Writer Advice Managing Editor, http://www.writeradvice.com
    Author of YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers & Author of TALENT
    blynngoodwin.com

  4. Lynn – you’re absolutely right – long live voices! The only way to discern one from the other is to get to know them and come to terms with them. Here’s to your attagirl attitude voice!

  5. I must confess, by the wording of your title I thought this would be about margaritas, but your Rita was a welcome surprise. I loved this.

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