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The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

NaNoWriMo’s annual call to writers

Jael Renfro
This year marks the 24th anniversary of National Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

As the scorching summer air gives way to the lashing chills of autumn’s arrival, many people are left with the desire to curl indoors with a comforting drink and an enticing novel. What better time is there to escape into the comforts of a fictional land? 

It is for this reason that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As the founder of the event, Chris Baty, claimed, it is during this time that writers can take advantage of the miserable weather. 

“Writing can be incredibly cathartic,” said Ms. Mary Vertiz, Rancho Cucamonga High School teacher of AP English Literature. 

Senior Jimmy Prince agrees with Vertiz’ sentiment, adding, “Writing is… the absolute motivation for me to discover the world.”

November is the essence of the writing spirit. This just-passed month marks the beginning of a nationwide challenge called NaNoWriMo, an event which dares aspiring writers to take on the challenge of writing a 50,000-word rough draft in November’s 30 brief days.

Intrigued yet? For those interested in participating in next year’s NaNoWriMo, there are several requirements to keep in mind.

NaNoWriMo is open to everybody. Anybody with access to a computer may sign up.

Prince participated in the event a few years ago. His story, “ED-E and Me,” follows a young child and their military-grade robot. 

It tackled self experiences with reactive attachment disorder in a more ominous and mysterious setting whilst simultaneously tackling… post-apocalyptic messages of mankind’s hubris and the ridiculousness of the old world,” Prince said.

This behemoth of a task, writing 50,000 words in just one month, requires that its participants write about 1,667 words per day in order to meet the deadline. This is a feat on-par with the likes of Mark Twain, Margaret Atwood, and Anne Rice, who all have claim to dozens of literary works, and have all professed to writing several thousand words daily.

“NaNoWriMo is singularly a declaration to challenge yourself to write,” Prince said. “And whilst the monotony of penning words to page can dissuade many, the point of NaNoWriMo is to artificially leverage your own mind into instilling urgency, into providing momentum and getting you jump-started.”

Adding to Prince’s sentiment, while many may write on occasion, or when the mood strikes them, waiting for inspiration isn’t enough to get a full book written. While writing is a passion of any writer, often, writers must force themselves to put pen to paper, even when the instigative spark is gone and writing becomes more like a task of putting one word after the other. Writing is as much an act of commitment and discipline as it is of artistry.

In 2022, over 400,000 writers participated in NaNoWriMo. Having such a large group participating in this event generates a medley of writing styles, genres, and perspectives. 

“[I enjoy] the intricate writing styles you sometimes come across when reading. What can be learned about expression,” Vertiz said. “Those lines that halt you in your tracks. Where you stop. Go back to the beginning and read it over again.”

This compelling complexity of diction that Vertiz mentions is curated through perseverance and experimentation. A sophisticated writing style isn’t an inherent trait; it’s a skill to be developed.

Vertiz encourages RCHS students to pursue writing, whether it be undertaking a challenge like NaNoWriMo, or a different venue of self-expression. 

“I feel that students who are interested in writing should not only do it, but create for themselves a network of like-minded people with whom they can generate ideas, get feedback, and continue to be encouraged by,” Vertiz said.

Whether you want to write one poem or an epic novel, write. And perhaps next year, when the bitter cold sets in once again, take advantage of both the miserable weather and the artistic November spirit.

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About the Contributor
Jael Renfro
Jael Renfro, Staff Reporter

Jael Renfro attends RCHS as a senior, currently a staff reporter for the Cat’s Eye newspaper. They joined journalism due to their interest in writing and creating. Their lifelong enjoyment of writing is why they’ve wanted to be a published author since they were a child. If not writing, they’re usually occupied with piano, coding, 3D designing, practicing chess, or reading.

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