The January Challenge blog series – Waheeda Hales

In The January Challenge blog series – we meet people signed up to take part, and hear why they are looking forward to getting creative in January. 

The January challenge is 31 days of creative challenges for each day of the month. All of the challenges are set by YOU! You can sign up here

By Waheeda Hales

My name is Waheeda and I would describe myself as a ‘creative’, ever since this word became used as a noun. I am a writer, improviser, amateur dramatist, and crafter. I especially enjoy up-cycling items (and ideas) and making things that have some sentimental or lasting value for the recipient. I have been published in a few magazines and my local newspaper, with items ranging from a travel piece to a Christmas Story.

I do all of these things as a sideline to my work as a support worker for vulnerable adults. With my clients, I have to take a creative approach to the tasks that we undertake. One individual has autism and learning difficulties. Together, we have written a short story and play, attended drama classes and completed several sewing projects. In the course of one day, anyone might be creative. They could redesign a room in their house, invent a game for children, take interesting photographs or make a tasty meal out of limited ingredients. All of these things have taken on a greater significance during lockdown!

I was drawn to The January Challenge as it was an opportunity to produce something interesting every day, and think outside the box. The challenges are short but could provide a springboard for a bigger project. I thought up a challenge inspired by solving a lot of puzzles at home over the past few months. A word search generates enough words to incorporate into a short written piece. I suggest using ten words as a starting point. I have done this exercise before, with individuals and groups, and some amazing writing has been the result! Word Searches often have a theme, but go where the words lead you. If you have more time, perhaps you could expand on the original piece of writing or produce a completely new one, using more of the words available. I have submitted the challenge idea to Lemn Sissay as he is a brilliant and inspirational writer.

January is often seen as a dull month. This may be due to the miserable weather, lack of funds post-Christmas or the pursuit of a Dry January. Yet The January Challenge offers us something fresh to do every day. Let’s all get our teeth into the different challenges available. That way, we can boost our wellbeing, keep the creative spirit alive and have something positive to show for what are trying times for so many of us.