16th December 2021
“We have no expectations of you. You’re just welcome.”
A note from 64 Million Artists co-founder and CEO, Jo Hunter
You can sign up to The January Challenge, 31 days of quick creative prompts, here.
I’m tired. Aren’t you?
I don’t think I know anyone who isn’t limping towards Christmas battling colds, Covid, too many commitments, awful fatigue or just a general sense of not really being able to hold it together. If you aren’t, well done you, you are forever my hero and I applaud your stamina and your immune system.
Promoting anything at the moment is weird. I must admit to having fully failed at trying to enthuse businesses to take part in The January Challenge this year, something I tasked myself with in September. I think really because it felt hard to say ‘why not add something else to your plate in 2022 and try to whip up some team enthusiasm,’ but also because I felt like I was struggling and it’s hard to enthuse others when really you’d rather be in bed.
But as my amazing team have ploughed on creating the most incredible month of magic, and I’ve heard all the brilliant schools, colleges, youth groups, care homes, councils, organisations and individuals that are excited to get started I’ve remembered why I always love it so much. And why, for the 9th year running, I’ll spend January taking on a little creative challenge each day, sometimes (mainly) in the 2 mins before a Zoom meeting starts, or just before bed because I forgot, or with not much energy, but I’ll do it, because I know from experience how much it helps.
So I am not writing this to persuade you to do it. Because no one needs telling what’s good for them at the moment, or ever. But I’m just telling you I’ll be doing it. Because every day I feel I don’t want to, it somehow makes me smile; because every day I think it’s too difficult, the 50,000 other people doing it remind me I can try; because on the gloomiest days of the most miserable month, I can be in community, listening to others share a little bit of themselves, and having them see me through the descending fog.
We tried to rename The January Challenge a long time ago, because really who needs a challenge in January? But we never really managed to find anything that stuck as well. So maybe the way we need to think about it is that January is often a Challenge anyway. And we’re going to be here, facing it together with a little bit of joy and fun and creativity along the way. We’re here to make the challenge less challenging. And to provide space for a community of thousands of people to help each other do the same.
So we’re here, if you need us. Every day in January, doing a gentle little creative activity for 5 or 10 minutes. You don’t have to do it every day, you don’t have to do it any day. But I’d like you to know we’re here. And we’ve got your back if you need a bit of space to just be. Be yourself, be someone else, be somewhere else, be resting, be creating, be staring into space. We have no expectations of you. You’re just welcome.
Take care of yourself and maybe see you in 2022.