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Zette Appreciation Day

September 17, 2012

Going to take a small break from my bookery talk to discuss someone who’s been a huge help to me over the past few months.

Today is the 17th of September, and my writing friends and I have planned this date to say a very special ‘thank you’ to Lazette Gifford, a.k.a ‘Zette’. For those not in the know, Zette runs the website Forward Motion that accommodates both novices and expert writers. It’s full of lessons, articles and places to talk, as well as having a chat room which everyone can use. Alongside this, she does work for other companies, is a professional cat herder, and — on the off chance that she manages to get time for herself — she writes novels and flash fiction.

Lazette — and Forward Motion as a whole — means a hell of a lot to me. It began back in November when I successfully wrote Space Boy and his Equally Spacey Dog for NaNo ’11, and realised just how fun it can be to sit behind a keyboard and rattle out 5,000 words in a day. My friends and family were good supporters in getting my writing up and running, but I needed something more; people who understood my madness when I started babbling about character arcs and plot points. It took me until April to finally acquire the moxie to start looking for a place to nestle into. One fated tweet shot off to the hashtag #amwriting, and I got a reply from an FM member pointing me in that direction.

Since then, I’ve been a member of Forward Motion for five months, but it feels like I’ve been going for longer – years, even. Forward Motion supplied me with genuinely inspiring people who still fill me with excitement and courage today. They have the knowledge and the experience to teach people about the craft and business of writing, while simultaneously having the compassion and joy for the writing to remind everyone that sitting in front of a computer all day and making stuff up can be a lot of fun. Forward Motion also hosts a monthly challenge, where a gauntlet is thrown down to the members of the website to write in a specific way. Were it not for Forward Motion, I would not have spend all of May writing fifteen separate short stories, all while preparing for the final exams of my University course. The stories taught me a lot about how to write, as well as gave me some solid material and ideas to expand on. Don’t worry, I passed the exams with better marks than I would have hoped!

Speaking of University, they always makes out your final dissertation to be the one thing that you’d be proud of for the rest of your life. Unfortunately for them, my crowning moment has instead been taken by the writing, cover-making and publication of my very first professional piece of work. Were it not for the drive and passion of the Forward Motioners, I would never have gotten this far. Were it not for Zette and her constant devotion to this brilliant website, there would be no Forward Motion.

Thank you, Zette. When the work gets too much for you and you’re staring at the monitor wondering why you bother, always remember that your efforts made an entire community which helped a newbie writer such as I actually get work out. All the lessons, challenges, and (let’s be honest) downright silly fun we’ve had could not be emulated by any writing site, blog or forum. Forward Motion is a unique gem, filled with people who are equally unique, and through your efforts it’s been possible for this brilliant place to continue to inspire newbies and professionals alike.

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From → Author Talk

One Comment
  1. It feels like you’ve been at FM longer than only 5 months! You jumped right in and started writing, which is a fantastic fit there (where we not only talk about it but also *DO*). It was so much fun watching you going from one short story to the next in May. Glad to hear it didn’t cost you grade points. 😛

    And then we have Zette, smoking all of us with her wordcounts! I love that she leads by example.

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