The fine poet, Seamus Heaney said in his essay, “Feeling into Words”: “Finding a voice means that you can get your own feeling into your own words and that your words have the feel of you about them.” That is a daunting but rewarding challenge for any writer, whether of poetry or prose, nonfiction or fiction, essays or stories.

To be aware enough of one’s feelings to offer them to others, with a minimum of static and confusion, requires steady and honest attentiveness to one’s own experience. What are we feeling? Why? How light or heavy are our feelings? How bright and how shadowy? How lasting or fleeting? Is there anything in what I am feeling that will benefit others? If so, what words are likely to help them see what I am seeing, hear what I am hearing and feel what I am feeling?

Some folks haven’t found their voices. There’s something tentative and thinned-out about what they say. Maybe the lack of “voice” comes from being out of touch with who we most truly are and what we most deeply feel. Our voices get muffled by unawareness and inattentiveness. Authenticity depends on consciousness; confidence comes from clarity; genuineness grows from insight.