Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Deer in the Bloglights No More!

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Deer in the Bloglights, by <a href="">PhotoDerek</a>

Blogging is hard!

Before Open Book Toronto so kindly asked me aboard, I had very limited blogging experience, having written exactly two posts for other people’s online homes (one on notebook love, for Rebecca Rosenblum, and the other on Giller crashing, for The New Quarterly).

My own website doesn’t have a blog component. I do get excited about updating my pages occasionally—I’m all proud of myself for knowing how to do basic HTML, which sounds so much fancier and more computery than it is.

I’ve always said that I would never have a blog unless I had something interesting to talk about. And while fiction writing is also hard, I’ve had more experience with it than with writing non-fiction, so it was less daunting. I was a bit anxious, then, at the prospect of composing 16 different posts for Open Book. This was a blog job! Which was fun to say, but nerve-wracking to contemplate.

I had a few ideas brewing from the get-go, but then the well started to run dry. (Well of beer = cool, crisp mixed metaphor.) For the first time ever, I knew what it was like to be in need of content. (My friend Mark actually suggested the idea for this blog post—“Write about having nothing to write about!” he said. Brilliant.) Then about a third of the way through, I began to feel sweatily self-conscious about writing about ME so much. So I wrote about other people, which made me sweat less.

I’m not much of a blog reader, either. My husband and friends always seem to be finding and perusing and processing a mind-boggling number of blogs and websites, and subscribing to RSS feeds and signing up for online deals and whatnot, but I am easily overwhelmed. The idea of web surfing is still foreign and vaguely unpleasant to me. Sure, I spend way too much time checking email, Facebook, and Twitter. But beyond that, the Internet is a big, dark, scary void with lots of stuff that I don’t have enough time or willpower to track down, much less digest.

That said, there are a few online gems I do check in on every so often. Here are some blogs that always have interesting things to say (which, I’ve discovered, is no easy task):

Birds and Words

Body Language

Grace O’Connell: Writing in Toronto

Kitchen Culture

Literary Type

Pickle Me This

Rose Coloured

That Shakespearean Rag

The Accordion Diaries

You Windy Rathole! Rob Elliott’s Toronto Sketchbook

Okay, so back to ME…heh.

In conclusion, I’m pleased to say that I am no longer a deer in the blogging headlights. After a while, I was walking around like, I have a blog. Hey, you over there—be careful, or I might write about you on my BLOG. I thought of more ideas, and I learned a few things about myself (such as I enjoy using parentheses and italics a lot, and I have been wantonly and recklessly using adverbs here even though I meticulously and painstakingly avoid them in my fiction).

I’m also grateful for, and was encouraged by, all the wonderful comments from the nice people who’ve been reading my posts. And now I’m feeling a little sad that this is my last one.

Thanks so much for the electronic fun-times, Open Book and Open Book readers!

Webloggily yours,

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Jessica Westhead

Jessica Westhead's short stories have appeared in major literary journals in Canada and the United States. "Unique and Life-Changing Items," which appears in And Also Sharks, was shortlisted for the 2009 CBC Literary Awards. Her first novel, Pulpy & Midge, was nominated for the ReLit Award. Westhead lives in Toronto.

Go to Jessica Westhead’s Author Page