voice • print (noun)
an individually distinctive pattern of certain voice characteristics
“A voiceprint is a set of measurable characteristics of a human voice that uniquely identifies an individual.” (from WhatIs.com)
This past autumn, I went to my first writing conference. I had no idea what to expect. I’d never been to any formal, organized gathering of other writers before, and certainly hadn’t been exposed to real, live people in the publishing industry. It all seemed pretty scary to me, but I was determined to go, despite the fact that I knew I would likely be the only person there under the age of eighteen.
So on November 14th, I went into Boston and was dropped off at the hotel where it was being held. If you’ve been to a writing conference before, you probably know what I’m talking about when I say that I was both excited and terrified at the same time. Once the day began, however, it was not nearly as daunting as I expected it to be. I vigorously took notes (seriously– I wrote down almost everything from the talks, just so I would remember it) and practiced my pitch just about every free second I had. I had the privilege of pitching Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency while I was there– and side note– she’s a super nice person and you should definitely check her out online. She’s been involved in creating some really fantastic tools for writers in the publishing process, too– you have no idea how much time I’ve spent scrolling the #MSWL hashtag and how much it’s helped me throughout my querying process.
During the pitch session, Ms. Sinsheimer mentioned to me (after I told her that I’m fifteen) that she had been seeing a lot more younger writers like myself seeking publication. She went on to say that she thought it would be cool if there were a way to connect those young writers via social media. And I loved this idea, which leads me to why I’m making this post about it now. After leaving the conference, I did some brainstorming, and continued to do so for several months, which led to the development of the idea and the writing of this post.
Now there’s a name for it. I’m starting The Voiceprint Project. This is an initiative I’m taking to try and connect young writers online, encourage the spread of our ideas and stories of our experiences, and of course, talk about writing. The reason I’m calling it ‘voiceprint’ is because I believe that all writers of all types have a unique voice, their own groundbreaking ideas, and a story to tell, and no one should be left out from that even if they’re young like I am. We all ultimately have the same goal in the writing community– for our work to be read and to spread our message through writing. Yes, I’m only fifteen, but I was just as serious about being at that writing conference in November as any other person in the room, and I believe that the writing world is one of the few places where it doesn’t matter how old you are. The thing that really matters is that you have a story you want to tell.
I invite any young or student writers, both published and unpublished, to join me in a Twitter party on May 6th to kick off the project. We’ll meet new people, talk about our experiences, and share our thoughts on just about anything to do with writing and the publishing process. If you know a young writer, spread the word!
I’ll be updating on this site and on my Twitter (@oldpbfan21) about the project as it takes shape and May 6th comes closer.