GenreCon and April IWSG

Welcome to a new month, all! Here on Noongar country we have entered Djeran season, the beginning of cooler weather. I can tell this change from the ants determinedly traipsing through my house, looking for a warm space to build a nest. (They are winning their territorial invasion. Sadly, I am outnumbered.)

Djeran is known as the ‘season of adulthood’ in our local Indigenous lore, where younglings born in summer are coming into their own, and preparations are made for the winter to come. This cyclic timing resonates with me – I am also making changes to prepare for my future, moving forward even as my own children are both grown enough to be in school now.

One of these changes is a move away from my previous job into something more flexible and less stressful. A situation precipitated by three things: the workplace itself (which I shan’t go into here); desire to spend more time with my family and my writing; and a chance meeting at a local community event. This combination led me to explore what else I could be doing with my life. As it turns out, the answer is quite a lot! So I’ve made some pretty major changes, and more are lined up. New pathways are opening for me.

It hasn’t come without a struggle. Change is not something I find easy to navigate. However, I am feeling hopeful. And that is something I’ve been missing for a long time.

Image: holding light in the palm of a hand. From

Before all this happened, I knew I needed a kick up the derriere in regards to my writing. It had fallen by the wayside, as these things do when you aren’t feeling great. So I booked myself a weekend on the other side of the country for GenreCon 2023. (For someone who doesn’t like change, I do like spontaneity sometimes.) The weekend came, I packed a bag and flew overnight to Brisbane. And I had the most amazing time.

Garth Nix giving the keynote address at GenreCon 2023. © E Gill

GenreCon is an annual initiative by the Queensland Writers Centre; a celebration of all things writing in horror, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and crime. It seemed to attract an eclectic mix of people, from enquiring would-be-writers, to emerging and published writers; from screenwriters and editors to short, novel, and series-length writers. There were presentations from story performers, self-published authors, comedic writers, and everything inbetween. It was impossible to visit all the talks – but the ones I attended will stay with me for years to come.

Signed interior page of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. © E Gill

It was my honour to be present in the same room as Garth Nix, Geneve Flynn, Jay Kristoff, Kylie Fennell, Lauren Elise Daniels, Mykaela Saunders, and more. I had more books signed than I really should have, plane luggage being what it is, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I got to speak to some of my Aussie SFF heroes, and introduced myself to fellow writers. It was the most wonderful, inspiring weekend, being around other people who love what they do as much as myself.

Brisbane is a pretty great city, too. Walking over the river to the State Library was a lovely way to start each morning.

Queensland State Library from Kurilpa Bridge Feb 2023 © Emma Gill

Did I come home and immediately write a fantastic story? Well, no.

But I came home with a feeling, a lingering happiness that I conjured whenever life spiraled (as it did in the few weeks following). I commemorated my renewed passion with a tattoo that reminds me every day of what I find important. It says, in Altair Font, “think. dream. write.”

Tattoo on inner forearm. © M. Gill

This is all relevant to my ongoing discussions about being a writer.

Wednesday 5 April was IWSG Day, aka the first Wednesday of each month, in which ‘insecure’ bloggers from around the globe share their thoughts on writing. I missed Wednesday’s deadline. I haven’t been keeping up with my blog as much as I’d like, and I was busy. I’m sorry if you were waiting/expecting that post, and I hope you sought out other IWSG-ers’ blogs on the blog hop list nonetheless.

If it’s allowed, I’d like to add my two cents’ to the month’s question/prompt anyway. A day late, but still relevant.

April 5 question: Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you’re at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

I wouldn’t say I’m at the start of my journey any more, though I don’t feel that I’m very far along it. Then again, I’ve had at least twenty short stories, interviews, narrations, and more published by other people… not a small achievement. I’m currently waiting on a new full request to read my first novel’s manuscript, from an Australian press I admire. That may turn into something more… or it may not. I do know that it’s my first book, and that realistically not many writers’ first books are published. But I’m proud of my Archivist universe and plan to finish the trilogy no matter what happens. And I plan to continue writing whatever else I feel like, no matter what.


Because writing isn’t about having a career, for me. It’s about self-expression. Creativity. Having something to say and sharing it. Spending time in my own head, doing an activity that I love, and that being okay.

(Of course, a career as an SFF writer would be great though, please and thank you universe!)


Here are my goals:

  • Think – Question my self-biases, my environment, my relationships and interpretations. Analyse and reflect. Always be open to new ideas. Inspire others to do the same.
  • Dream – Don’t self-reject. Reach for those stars, like it might be entirely possible to hold a million nuclear explosions in the palm of my hand. If I don’t try, I’ll never know what it takes to fail.
  • Write – Express myself. Lean into my strengths and interests and just write. The world is an extraordinary place, but the imagination is where the extraordinary goes for its holidays: limitless.

What would your goals be?

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is brought to you by Alex J. Cavanaugh, co-hosted this month by Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre. Thank you to all. Check out more postings at this blog hop.

IWSG logo: Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop icon, used with permission.
Header image: Rose mallee – Eucalyptus rhodantha in Kings Park by Tatters on Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

3 thoughts on “GenreCon and April IWSG

  1. What an inspiring post. This sounds like things are really on an upswing for you. I’m glad the conference gave you a boost and I love the tattoo. Now you have a daily reminder to write, literally close to hand! Good luck with the full request.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s awesome that the conference has inspired you to make changes in your life. Congrats on your publishing successes. I hope that you get the request for a full submission that you’re waiting for.


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