Did you Find Your Voice?

I learnt an awful lot at the Press Publish Conference in Portland on the weekend. I am going to share as much as I can with you over the next week.  As usual these things will weave themselves in and out of the fabric of our farmy pages. Much like this post. (And first I would like to thank you for the incredible comments on the Portland Page. Those comments underline once again what a wonderful collective we are – a team of goodness and care. The Fellowship).Dutch Belted Cows

This morning though I need to answer a question that a girl asked of the Publishing Panel on Saturday afternoon at the Press Publish conference.


“How long did it take you to find your voice?” she asked the Panel. Her speaking voice was hesitant.  She was a small woman, dove grey, lightly scented.  I watched her, she had been taking big breaths to lead up to that question causing a flush in her face. She blinked slowly and swallowed as she handed back the microphone. I knew exactly what to say to her and drawing my own breath I turned for my own microphone but someone else already had it. And the editor speaker spoke and the lovely woman who was a merchant banker spoke and the published authors spoke and then I felt that maybe enough had been spoken. So I hesitated and the moment had gone. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the brightness of the panel.  I  dimmed and the girl slowly faded back against the wall and I watched her as the questions rolled on and I missed my chance.

white peacock

I wished I had just taken the microphone and spoken. I had been intimidated and am now haunted by this girl. So here I am back  with my own Fellowship Family.  I know that this young woman will probably not be reading (though we have many new readers who I hope will introduce themselves in the Join Us page). But here is my answer anyway.hereford pig

“You have already found your voice. Do not hesitate to use it. Each voice is individual and perfect for who you are and where you are now – to hide it and dress it up until it sounds like every other voice will never work. You have your voice already.  You have not lost it and so you do not need to begin a journey to find it. You have the words and the rhythm and the sound track. It is already there changing and moving with your own breath.  You just have to put your fingers on the keys and write this moment down.

Here is what I do to keep my writing honest  – I write exactly how I speak.  In fact I call it Writing Out Loud. I say the words in my head as I bash away at the keys. (It is exactly the opposite of reading when we do not say the words at all – we simply read.) Then, when the words are on the screen, I go back and edit out all the repeats and extraneous words. I fix the spelling and grammar. I chuck out at least half of what I have written. I move stuff about so it is simple and makes sense but that is all. Always reading the sentences aloud in my head.  It is a bit like taking a picture then running it through Photo Shop to push the contrast and clarify the edges, bring the colour back in and add a bit of noise. But it is always the picture I took. Write. Your voice is there. Just write as you speak.”

I hope the girl will nod and smile and unbite her lips then lift her fingers and just write. kunekune pigs

kunekune pigs

Timatanga Moana and Tane Mahuta were making a lot of noise yesterday afternoon.  They are not always beautiful are they. I should have got the tape recorder out for you but it is not a gentle sound by any means. Maybe tomorrow.


Interesting dates on the farm blackboard.farm-animals-106

Good morning. Chickens take 21 days to hatch. Poppy will take 21 days to come back into heat. Poppy was possibly,( maybe,  fingers crossed) bred on March 11.  The eggs are in a safe place and should start hatching this weekend. And Poppy is showing no obvious signs of coming back into heat. Yet. I am hanging on Tenterhooks.

I hope you have a lovely day. I hope you use your voices.

Your friend on the farm




74 Comments on “Did you Find Your Voice?

  1. Last first: what lovely legible handwriting you have!

    Voice: like you, I read my poems aloud as I write them, and they are 90% in my own voice, though sometimes I have fun by writing as someone or something else. You emphasised the need for truth, both at the conference and here, and I agree entirely – except when writing fiction! I used to write a lot more fiction than I do now, when truth is usually more interesting and lively.

    Those piggies ARE beautiful. They look like an old married couple.

    ViV xox

  2. I would find it very difficult to write anything that is not in my heart and the truth,,,,I am a crotchety old bird but I speak and I think and I say what I mean,,and mean what I say.

    I would find it impossible if I had to think of every word that came out of my head…so like you it flows with my words..sometimes making no sense at all until I have fiddled with it.

    It is a shame that you were not able to speak to this young person but may it is just possible that she might be one of your readers…but it was a good question…

  3. Good morning, c. And good morning to the farmie. My voice has changed over the years, developed with age and experience, refined by everything that I read and learn. It alters with mood, by weather, with seasons. It’s like opinions. They change as I age. It’s like clothing. I wouldn’t wear now what I wore at 18, although that same sense of style is still engrained in who I am.

  4. I love your advise on finding your voice. I hope the girl is reading! Have a great day! Cloudy, foggy, gray rainy day here in Arkansas!

  5. I absolutely LOVE your answer and it rings with me because I have had several people say to me “you write exactly like you talk” so I guess I have found my voice! You just affirmed it. I love that you are going to share with us all that went on –what an exciting time for all of us to be able to share with you. Thank you! And thanks for the piggy pics. 🙂

  6. I write the same way. From my brain, instead of turning right and out of my mouth, it goes left and out the ends of my fingers on the keyboard. I try to blog with my authentic voice. Those piggies, Celi! I think Miss Timatanga Moana must be very beautiful for a kunekune, if Tane is a standard example. He’s definitely the rugged type, but she has Disney length eyelashes, pert fluffy ears and beautiful colouring. Perhaps they are discovering the joys of adolescent hormones together… Autumn is on the way down here. It was below 30C today for the first time since spring, all day! And we’ve had some wonderful rain, and I’ve pruned the palms and the fruit trees. Bring on the winter!

    • And here we are over here in the Northern Hemisphere hollering……’Bring on the Spring!!!!” 🙂

    • The turning of the seasons is always a HUGE relief! We are very much looking forward to spring…Yay for you that you want winter.!

  7. A morning visit to the farmy always lifts my spirits. I haven’t quite found my voice. I try but I am shy and think of judgement and negative reaction. I blog, it took almost three years to finally publish. I don’t tell people I know like friends and family about it, only about 5 people I know closely know about it. A few times I almost quit, thinking who wants to hear this, it doesn’t matter. I keep doing it because I like it and it is for my daughter. So I blog quietly and if someone finds me and follows it is because they want to not because they are obligated or nosey. Maybe someday I will get a louder voice.

    Sorry for the long comment, but your post struck a chord this morning.

    • Good for you for doing it Lori, both for yourself and your daughter! And you must be learning and growing and using your mind as well. How wonderful! I keep thinking that I will start….very small…..and maybe not publish right away, as you say you didn’t. Perhaps I”ll follow in your footsteps. Thank you for sharing your voice!

      • Thanks for your nice comment. Do it! Nice comments from people who are genuine who connect with you because they like your posts and what you do for no other reason is wonderful.

  8. I read the title of today’s post and started to cry. I am stuck at the moment, living inside my head and my head is not the sanest place to be these days. Maybe doing some writing will help to unstick me and get the gunk out, so to speak. Thank you C, for being so honest with us. Maybe beating the crap out of something inanimate will help too. Tickle a goat for me today.

    • Thinking of you Kim and sending positive, cheerful energies!!!

    • Kim, just want you to know that you are not alone in where you are right now. I don’t have any idea if it is something that will change soon for me, but I miss my writing and know that I need that to be a part of every day, horrible-joyous-or otherwise. Best to you.

    • soon you will be back on the farm Kim my darling girl.. then insanity is the sanity that rules in all its glorious voices.. (Suggest lying your head on one side and boinking the other side of your head with the heel of your hand as though to get water out of your ear.. out will come the gunk and back in will flow your gorgeous voice).. come as soon as you like and for as long as you like.. we have building to do! Lots to do! c

      • I so appreciate your kind words. They made me cry…again, but that’s okay. Sometimes crying is good. It will get better. i will hold your words in my heart today.

  9. You nailed the answer. Sometimes, I hold back not wanting to speak just to speak, I want to make sure that what I have to add is valuable or a different perspective Not a repeat of what someone else is saying.

    • Candy, I think I must have said this very same thing about 1 month ago when I decided to take a blogging break to ‘find’ something. I found out for sure that I miss blogging, but I seem to be stuck in the belief that I need to be more, write more/differently, follow the path that others take in this writing game…perhaps Celi and many of the fellowship in their comments have hit the nail on the head. We must just write, as much or as often as our heads and hands tell us to. The rest will follow. Best to you.

    • Candy you have written the very words in my head. Often I don’t post something simply because I think I might be the only person who finds it interesting or worthwhile. I question it’s value. Celi’s words have encouraged me to just write, even if it’s just for me.

  10. So happy for this post Celi! When the woman asked the question, I saw you reach for the microphone, then everyone else jumped in. And then I waited for you to finish it up, and you didn’t. But this post is so wonderful in that we can all read and share in the very important question of finding one’s voice. And hear the many responses from so many of The Fellowship too!!! 🙂

  11. Godot is looking magnificent today, almost as if he was posing for you 😉 Pig noses and pig teeth–almost better than baby goats! Your words have inspired once more today Miss C. WordPress certainly knew what they were doing when they invited you to speak.

  12. I suspect all your animals would have no trouble taking the stage and voicing their opinions – especially the pigs 😉

  13. The picture of all black and white critters would make a great t-shirt? Just a thought.

  14. I loved what you said here about finding your voice… sometimes the tiniest bit of encouragement is all someone needs. I hope that woman is reading. All of our voices are special… and what a lovely choir we are when we meet to sing about our lives!

  15. It’s horrid when something plays on your mind, when you have lost a chance to say or do something. Tima looks like she’s whistling a jaunty tune! x

  16. I totally agree with you Celie, about talking in your head and by passing your mouth. I pick one person and talk from my heart through my fingers to that one person. It seems to work, Believing in what you do does help and like you, I try to end each post on a positive note. You are such an inspiration to all of us!

  17. SO well-said re: voice. What you have is unique and good enough as it is.

    And I often talk out loud as I type… And if I go back and re-read my paper journals aloud I get lost in them for at least an hour… Reading aloud is vital in every case, I think. The only way to really know.

  18. I write the same way, from the voice and dialog in my head, and one of the great things about starting a blog was finding that voice. Such wise words, miss c. What cute piggy pics today and love the pursed lips of Tima and the little toofies of Tane. Also loved hearing you talk during the conference about how TonTon ends up in so many pictures…and there he is! Looks like the weather has finally turned to Spring for you and I hope today is the same.

  19. Your honesty and vulnerability on this blog are so refreshing and more rare than you know–kind of the opposite of the “selfie stick.” You include and nurture us all in your journey, because it’s universal. (And your animals are utterly fascinating, truly a little family. I don’t know how you come up with their names but they are so perfect.)

  20. Ci, that’s the best explanation of “voice” I’ve ever heard. The most useful. Sometimes I think the whole obsession with “voice” is passive aggressive intimidation of those who would be authors. Writing is a bit like learning computers: just poke around and try stuff until it feels right – you really can’t break anything and it can always be rebooted. A kid taught me that in the early days of computers..a little kid – one others called a troublemaker and non achiever – I think he was miles ahead of most in many ways. You just have to start.
    Just write, it’s there. (Hopefully she’s found the farmy. She’d be right at home here.)

  21. I think it takes a little while to find your voice when writing a blog, but you are right, it has to sound like you. If you try something else it just sounds fake.

  22. Celi ~ I love today’s topic!! Voice! our voice ~ anyone’s voice! Miss Kitty found her voice! TonTon found his voice with the cows! Godot found his! and for sure Sheila has her voice!! Nanny Boo found his voice! and Queen Tima found her voice! Tane still hunting for his manliness!!! and now the Kids sure found their voices!! So very true for must of us in this life ~ we all have a voice in different ways ~ some really stand on the stage of life and their voices reach a lot of people and others have a strong voice in such a quiet manner! But there’s nothing like the voice of the farm!! I’m so thankful I was raised on the farm!! Great subject Celi!!!

  23. Beautiful, thoughtful insight as always C. And I have a feeling that the young woman read today and found the very best answer to her question yet.

  24. Oh miss C. and we are always learning with you. First thing I had to go check on Oxford Dictionaries because I thought the proper form was “learned” but now I know better.
    Secondly for sure that girl will be reading you and feeling very at home here in the Fellowship. I so related to your “missed moment”, it’ s a constant in my life either because I’m too slow coming up with answer or waiting for everyone else to talk first careful of not stepping ahead of someone else.
    And finally I have this ongoing dialogues with myself all day long while going around doing stuff and thinking that I would like to write some down but then if and when I finally sit to do it, it’s all gone somewhere ….never to be found again.Well maybe someday it will find its way into writing.
    Thank you so much for another very interesting post and yes your pigs are beautiful and still cute even when not looking so pretty.Isabel

  25. You do have a clear and authentic voice, Celi, and it is always a warm hug. I hope the woman you speak of came away from Portland with a fresh perspective and a deeper sense of her own strength. I also hope soon to see some little chicks popping from those Easter eggs! 🙂

  26. Sometimes I think the subtext to that question is “How do I get people to LISTEN to my voice?” That’s a different and far more difficult question to answer.

    I dreamed I was on the farmy last night and feeding Sheila. There were eggs involved. She was pleased.

  27. I did a play called “Working.” There was music. I was a waitress with a line that used ” Sotto voce. ” Each rehearsal, each run-through, I would yell, “Sotto Voce!!!” I was fourteen and had absolutely no clue what this meant. So, I said it loudly. It seemed like this would be so. And not a person told me otherwise. BUT, as it turns out, “sotto voce” means saying something as an aside. using a soft voice. We did this play for a competition and I received a note on this error. I felt bad. Now, I wonder if I could have pulled off ironic. No matter, finding your voice is something I’ve not found yet, but keep trying. Even if it means screaming soft Italian words.

  28. I don’t think I have an audible voice. I’m “The kind of person who apologises when someone else stands on my foot on the bus”.
    Always taking the defensive stance.
    My voice is visual. The things I make, the photographs I create and the occasional painting or drawing..
    Lately, since I began blogging I have begun to write a little, well ALOT if you count my university paper, but I doubt I shall ever be a speaker. It’s just not in me. The habit of a lifetime to believe that everyone knows more than me. That is who I am, a watcher.
    The world needs its witnesses too.

  29. I’m with you Celi! The voice is there .. A friend who is a great writer said to me, that I have a strong voice. Like you, I write the way I speak! All me 😀

  30. Finding your voice beautifully, expressed 🙂 Mine works similarly when it wants to be heard; there’s lot of words come out, get tided up, shifted around and sometimes parked for further consideration. I find reading and commenting on other blogs keeps my thoughts and voice tuned… someone mentioned a choir. It was finding my spot in the blogging choir that cemented it for me.

  31. I saw that sweet quiet girl just that moment, then she vanished. You may not have answered her question but you answered mine. I think several of your fellowship including Misky has a good bead on it. I’m a woman without formal education and always second guessing my audacity to write. But write I must and I write like I speak, hopefully better since the opportunity to edit is not always available in conversation. I catch myself asking “did that really just come out of my mouth?” I’m just an old woman with foot in mouth disease and a cane to kick it around. 🙂

    • Meeting you and your lovely friend at the conference was a treasure. You belong with the Fellowship. I love that word audacity – suits you perfectly c

  32. This wonderful post and all the Fellowship comments may inspire me to break out of my torpor and start writing again !
    But before I write anything I must say something.
    I love Boo for his nobility and loving heart, and I am in love with Tima for her beauty, her audacity and serene self confidence.. even when asleep her smile speaks volumes – much of it repeating her mantra : : I am totally a home in my world, and I know that my world is a wonderful place… love to you all, Valerie

  33. As I have said my connection to the panel session broke about ten minutes before the end and I did not see/hear that particular lady speak. I am so sorry that even at the end of ‘elegant sufficiency’ you did not reach for the mike and leave her some special words to remember. Actually you did that early on the Qs also and I was ‘screaming out aloud’: ‘Celi, go on, go on’. 🙂 ! I admit to a big personal fault in commenting . . . reading a post thoughts and words simply seem to appear in my mind and then my keyboarding just gets away from me . . . somehow I always feel you and I are sitting on your farmy verandah talking and talking and talking . . . heart and soul and my brain not always thinking whether I am clear and logical . . .

  34. I stopped writing for quite a while, and have been encouraged by you and others to tell my truth. I want people to really understand how I feel. I want to inspire, make others aware of my diseases and educate. I will begin again, soon.

  35. Hi Celi, I thought I would respond to this one. I write exactly as you do. I “write out loud” as you say. My husband has had to write numerous emails for several companies, and struggles with it so much. I always told him to write just as if he is speaking to someone, as he’s an eloquent salesperson and charms the life out of anyone on the phone. But when it comes to the written word, he is halted. Stalled. Says he just can’t come up with the words. I was thinking a lot of that had to do with his slowness of typing (he’s kind of a hunt and peck kind of guy, although he does use “home row” for typing and all 10 fingers.) I finally got him a Dragon speech recognition system, so he could just “speak” what he wanted to write/type, and it would translate that to the written word for him. That did not work either. (I can type almost as fast as I think.) Sooo, my conclusion is that some people are just “hard-wired” not to be able to write out loud, or vice versa. It comes naturally to some of us too. Those are my 2 pennies in the matter. And I will continue to read your blog each and every chance! You enlighten me, surprise me, concern me, and make me laugh! Take care. xoxo

      • Yes, I cannot imagine being not able to write out loud. It’s part of who I am… Hugs. I hope all is well on the farmy! I guess I’ll find out tomorrow first thing tomorrow, since I am on the West coast!

    • I think it might have something to do with how extroverted or introverted a person is. My spouse is very much the extrovert, happily chattering away, could sell you your own dirty sox and you’d be delighted to buy them. I’m the introvert, my talking happens through my fingers and keyboard, but it’s spoken in my head first.

      • I am very much the extrovert and type my thoughts as I speak them, Aquila. However, my husband really is an introvert but is an incredible salesperson. He trained himself to be a good salesman over the past 30 years, but bring him to a party where he doesn’t know anyone and he’ll stand in the corner.

        • It doesn’t seem to run that way in my family. The quiet ones write like they talk and the outgoing ones just don’t seem to write much or well, a couple of them don’t seem to have an off switch when they’re talking though and it would be easier if they’d write instead.

          • I do have an outgoing brother who talks nonstop, but his artistic outlet is sound mixing and film, not writing. I, like you, would wish he’d write his thoughts instead. (I have a “secret” timer where I can only withstand 30 minutes of his talking then must excuse myself to do other things.) But we are family!

  36. You are exactly right. I have always written letters and now blog posts, just like I talk. People used to say that to me about my letters and later on about my emails, so it must be true. I have stayed with it because then it feels like you’ve had a conversation with someone, more personal, than just some contrived words. I hope the woman reads what you’ve said. She might, you know. xx

  37. Hi Celi, I have been blogging for a few months, I am not a confident writer, I do reread and edit a lot, so it takes so much of my time. Your answer to finding your voice was spot on. I write as I speak too, but since I am now airing my voice in this weird and wonderful sharing Blogesphere world I am battling to get the TIME balance right. Farming , growing veg and rearing livestock is a busy lifestyle . I am also a craftoholic and my latest passion is willow. I used to write songs, but here I have to resist all temptation to join in with poetry and writing prompts, thinking I will do that when I can no longer bend to pull out the weeds!!
    I could really learn a thing or two from your ability to keep to a routine ….. An early morning blog fix and only return again at coffee break!!
    The Kitchens Garden is an inspiration. Thankyou. 💜🐝💚👒💛🐣❤️🚜💙

  38. this is a very sweet and touching post. I often get like that woman when I am in a crowd and want to ask a question. it rises up inside sort of choking me and
    this mean part of me is sometimes saying to the curious side “silly, that’s not a very good question” and then I overrule her and ask it flustery and red-faced
    anyway. So I can relate to both her and you, wanting to answer, but waiting and then being haunted by not speaking. I love the little o-shape piggy mouth. So
    sweet, like crooning a Sinatra tune. And i love the dark barn interior. Now I want you to put a real scratch and sniff as well as recordings. I feel like I can smell
    that space. All wood and hay and falling light and coolness and warmth and animal bodies all at the same time. How rich.

  39. Such good advice! Good writing comes from that place of truth. If you have the courage to write it, it’s always worth it. Isn’t it sad that so many feel like they don’t have a worthy voice!

  40. I hope she reads your words. Time and Tane are always cute as a button.

  41. Pingback: Back Again! | valeriedavies

  42. A great post, full of earthy wisdom. I always read my words aloud before finalising the page (blog or newsletter). It gets them out of my head and into my body.

  43. Pingback: Critical Mass | Homepaddock

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