I say this because I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the best way to share your voice today and, obviously, my mind went to some of my favorite historical figures and how they shared their voices during the early stages of the American Revolution. Great men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Joseph Warren, and Thomas Paine have their words immortalized in grand speeches and beautifully constructed documents. Even personal notes were saved. John Adams seemed to have quite a few of his correspondences put into the public eye as there are collections made of his letters to Abigail, to Jefferson, and others. Through the times that tried men's souls founders remembered and not-so-well remembered wrote their thoughts and argued their opinions, many under pseudonyms in their local papers (my personal favorite, of course being Dr. Joseph Warren's writings).
I have always been a writer of fiction. My parents tell the story that when I was young I would dictate long stories to my grandmother and have her read them back to me for editing. University woke a brief spark in me in the earliest stages and I wrote under a pseudonym, mostly on social topics that were important to me. Looking back (and I don't dare at this point) I can only imagine them as bumblings that might have come across as rants, with little research and quite a bit of emotion (emotion, I believe, is a necessity when you believe fully in the subject, but fact is just as important). Coupled with the fact that I had no idea where to go, I did not go very far and soon gave up on the venture.
Towards the end of my university years I formed a friendship with another student who was also a writer and shared in many of my social and political views. As writers, we decided, we could use our talents to bring attention to local and national happenings that would affect our fellow students on campus. With this thought in mind we began tossing around ideas of creating a newspaper. If memory serves, we even discussed taking on names of our favorite historical heroes as pseudonyms in their honor. While the newspaper was not practical with our limited time and financial budget, we turned to the blogs. Together we created a blog called The Liberty Pole: Conservative writings from a generally liberal generation and were joined by a fellow contributor or two along the way.
Once again, time restraints did a number on the project. I contributed a bit on a club's blog during those days, but most of my writing time (beyond the many papers required as an English Lit undergrad) was devoted to the novel I had just begun. It took on the same name as the blog and within its pages are characters that are (some more loosely than others) based on those historical heroes that we had discussed using the names of when The Liberty Pole was to be an underground school newspaper.
Three and a half years have passed by since we started the blog called The Liberty Pole and probably about that since I first dove into the depths of writing the book. As an author of novels and short stories, I find my voice in that, but in today's publishing world they need more. I attended a writing conference last year and was told ever way that I turned that I should have a blog, a twitter account (something that I had avoided vehemently), and make sure that I was involved in the various other social media outlets. It's been a slow road, but I'm climbing it. I found my voice in my novel and this is yet another avenue to take in getting it out there.
With all the outlets, with all the possibilities, I often think of how it might have changed things in the late 18th century if Warren and the others had had access to this. Would he have written his own blogposts? Gone viral? The whole works that every online-author hopes might happen? Then I stop and give it a good, hard look and realize: it didn't matter that he didn't have access to everything that is at our fingertips today. He spoke honestly and passionately and he didn't need all of this. His and the other founders' words live on today because they meant something. They continue to mean something. That, I think, is truly finding your voice.
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."Benjamin Franklin