National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) is an annual creative writing project coordinated by the non-profit organization The Office of Letters and Light. Spanning the month of November, the project challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel in one month. The project has been running since July 1999 by Chris Baty and started out with only 21 participants. In 2000 the project was moved to November and in the 2009 event, just under 170,000 people took part in the event, writing a total of over 2.4 billion words. Writers wishing to participate first register on the project's website, where they can post profiles and information about their novels, including synopsis and excerpts. Word counts are validated on the site, with writers submitting a copy of their novel for automatic counting. Municipal leaders and regional forums help connect local writers with one another for holding writing events and provide encouragement.