GHENT, WV (WVNS) — National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner and aspiring authors all over are prepping to buckle down and put pen to paper.

NaNoWriMo started in 1999 and is celebrated every November by writers all around the world. Many take part in an online competition that pushes them to their limit by challenging them to reach the goal of 50,000 words in one month. Although it is called “National Novel Writing Month,” any writing counts towards the goal; it isn’t required to be a novel.

The competition is hosted on the official NaNoWriMo website which also collects donations during the event to help sponsor creative writing programs.

NaNoWriMo states that the donations collected help in part to fund around 400,000 participants who participate in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, around 100,000 students and educators in classrooms through the Young Writers Program, around 1,200 public libraries, bookstores, and community spaces that host gatherings for creatives, and around 1,000 worldwide volunteers who help writers all over.

Although donating is an option, it isn’t required in order to participate in the event. Signing up is free through their site and adds a sense of friendly competition as well as community that some writers use to fuel their creative endeavors.

To add more benefits for those who participate, those who reach their 50,000 word goal and verify the achievement gain access to a slew of prizes.