The name ‘Queensland’ conjures up images of tropical beaches and suntanned surf goers, but not so much vibrant, industry-leading writing community. After all, writers tend to be kind of pale, not so sporty, and spend copious hours agonising over blank pages. But there is a strong writing community here that is, through some fantastic leadership, only getting stronger.
Bizarrely, I don’t consider myself a Queensland-based writer—I don’t consider myself a writer based anywhere in particular. I’m someone who has a laptop and a mobile phone and who, as long as I have an internet connection, can work from wherever.
Which is precisely what I do, travelling light and often, with much of my work completed in random places quite literally all over the country and sometimes all over the world. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that more of my Book Burglar blogs have been written outside of Queensland than in it.
But each time I return to the state, I’m impressed at how much is going on in its writing sector and how much I want to be a part of it. My unsubstantiated guess is that not having had traditional publishing models (there’s really only one or two publishing houses here) means that Queensland’s well positioned to take advantage of emerging technologies and opportunities.
Combined with leaders who recognise the potential of them (instead of focusing on what’s being lost and not understanding what and why things are changing) and who want to develop the industry, there’s a lot to like about the Queensland writing sector.
I might not consider myself a wholly and solely Queensland-based writer, but it is where I most often visit/stay, that I’m most excited about, and that I most want to be a part of. I’ve been asked to contribute to a plan of action to help shape and grow this sector, which is why I’m asking you for help too. There are seven (reasonably tricky—or at least significant thought-requiring) questions I need to tackle, listed below.
1. What will success for the writing sector in Queensland look like in five to 10 years’ time?
2. What kind of products and services will writers be creating and providing in the next five to 10 years?
3. How can the sector capitalise on the opportunities digital technologies are bringing about?
4. Can Queensland provide leadership for the writing sector nationally and internationally?
5. What kind of investments in the writing sector will make the most difference in the next five to 10 years?
6. What roles do individuals, organisations, businesses, and government potentially have in leading development of the sector locally and beyond?
7. What can be achieved by the Queensland writing sector working more collaboratively to leverage current and future investments?
I realise not all of you will be based in Queensland, but the questions and issues the questions raise speak to broader writing sector issues and opportunities. If you replace Queensland with your location of choice, is there anything you’d like to share or recommend for each or any of the questions? Who knows? Maybe one day the word ‘Queensland’ will conjure up images not just of sun and surf but of an innovative writing and inclusive writing community.