Please Exit the Comfort Zone with Caution

I’ve always been a great advocate of the idea of ‘stepping out of the comfort zone’ to a place where we push boundaries, increase productivity and creativity, and generally train ourselves to cope positively with stress and change. However a couple of recent experiences have left me contemplating when departure from the comfort zone is wise or best avoided…

At the weekend I met up with some of my ‘walking buddies’. We originally met trekking in Nepal for charity in the year 2000. During my 3rd year of uni, mid dissertation, I was granted leave from my studies as the purpose was considered character building. And that it was. From the raw chilli placed decoratively, inconspicuously upon my mid air – breakfast omelette (I’d never eaten raw chilli before – weirdly I assumed it was a green bean. Because obviously everyone has green beans on omelettes whilst flying high above the United Emirates) to the crumbling toilet huts perched precariously on cliff sides, 1 (133) to the -15c midnight trips to the loo tent, the polio and poverty ridden hillside communities, tape worms wriggling in the toilet pits, general discomfort of high altitude: I was certainly out of my comfort zone. But I learnt so much about myself, the world, life – I loved it so much so that I went back, again, (and again).

There are a few core members of the ‘Red Group’ who continue to not only keep in touch but also meet twice maybe three times a year and I am proud – privileged – to say that I am one of them. We are an eclectic group – from wide ranging geographical areas, chronologically diverse, varied backgrounds and careers. But our shared love of adventure and trekking in wild, remote, high places and pushing the boundaries of our comfort zone unites us. Whether it’s the fusion of fresh air, hours spent in the great outdoors, the adrenaline come-down or the wine at the end of the day, together we always share laughter and silliness until our eyelids are drooping and we’re forced to stagger to bed, bodies heavy, minds happy.

Over the bank holiday weekend we met in Edale for a brief interlude from our daily lives to a programme of ‘multi activity’. Joining the group later than intended due to family / work commitments I spent a substantial percentage of my drive up the M1 reflecting on how relieved I actually was to be missing out on the planned morning activity: caving. But alas, the heavy rain had other plans and our itinerary was rearranged meaning that, joy of joy, I could now participate in said caving: *gulp*

The mini bus journey had me picturing tight wriggle holes, head partially submerged in water, ducking down fully submersed here and there to avoid mammoth, loose boulders, plus darkness, panic and an overwhelming feeling of being deep underground and STUCK. The approaching cave opening was the portal that was to take me firmly out of my comfort zone – and with my heart pounding I was actually beginning to question if this may be a step too far…

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Thankfully there was a happy ending – I loved the caving. It was interesting, informative, fun… and as we emerged into the sunlight 2 hours later, hands covered in mud, wellies squelching full of cave water I was really glad to have participated, and to have taken the leap from comfort to the stratosphere beyond.

But alongside the caving, I have forced myself out of my comfort zone in another area for about 6 weeks now, and I don’t seem to be making as much progress in overcoming these ‘cave approach’ jitters.

photo 1These are a couple of phrases I have heard a great deal recently and after the initial feeling of glee (yes! I do have a book coming out!! I really do!) I lurch to butterfly belly, frozen face… when I should be seizing the moment for some self-promotion, grateful for the opportunity. This is something I need to overcome and get better at, so I’m hopeful that the experience of caving may have earned me some credit in the ‘dealing with discomfort’ stakes. So I am embarking on a little research into how to ‘do’ self-promotion properly and to overcome any unease in doing so. I will blog my findings in a few weeks…

In the meantime, my children’s book ‘Worm, Slug, Maggot & Leech and their Troublesome Transformation!’ is available to pre-order at: https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/index.php/book/index/WormSlugMaggotandLeech

Thank you for reading.

Polly x

 

 

 

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It’s Share a Story Month. Here’s mine!

It’s National Share a Story month, an annual celebration of story telling and story sharing providing a fantastic opportunity to bring children and stories together.

This year the central theme is ‘Imagination and Inventiveness’ with activities and events focused on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in order to mark the 50th anniversary of its publication.

As an acknowledgement to Share a Story Month I’ve been ferreting about in the depths of our dusty old loft back at my family home in an attempt to salvage some, errrm, ‘imaginative and inventive’ childhood stories of my own to share. I loved writing my last blog post about superpowers and the supernatural as it took me back thirty or so years to a time when I would immerse myself for hours in tales of phantoms and goblins. Not an average little girl’s pastime, however the issue of gender neutrality in children’s lit is perhaps a focus for a blog post another day!

So hold onto your hats, brace yourself dear reader. For the first time in many years a true masterpiece is about to be unveiled. There is no Augustus Gloop thrashing in a river of chocolate, nor a gum chomping Violet Beauregarde morphing into a blueberry. Neither does it feature Vercua Salt hurting down a rubbish chute, nor Mike Teavee transported to a fraction of his size by television waves. Nope! From the dizzying heights of the great glass elevator I transport you to…

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The Magic Bongo Wongo World.

(Written by me, approx. age 10)

A nod to the ‘choose your own adventure’ tales of old (well old-ish) the story features endless opportunities for the reader to forge their own path. Whether it is through the Dizzy Desert…

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… Hicupping Hoover Land, Down the Plug Land, The Land of Death …

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… Lovely Land or The Shed, the reader is accompanied by a variety of interesting characters on their harrowing journey:

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And is faced with interactive puzzles and riddles littered through its pages:

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With troubling dilemmas to ponder: IMG_20140523_0008

And relics to collect:

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The action is exhilarating through to its very conclusion…

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The storyline may be somewhat questionable and I probably wouldn’t recommend this book as a soothing bedtime read but the ‘story’ is certainly action packed, bursting with thrills, suspense and surprise. With sections more reminiscent of a 1980s computer adventure (think Dragon’s Den, Granny’s Garden) than a Roald Dahl creation there is without doubt imagination and inventiveness to be found between the pages.

Unfortunately ‘The Magic Bongo Wongo World’ isn’t available to pre-order but ‘Worm, Slug, Maggot & Leech and their Troublesome Transformation’ IS! If this post has you intrigued about what on earth I came up with next, have a look at:

https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/index.php/book/index/WormSlugMaggotandLeech

Thank you again for reading.

Polly x

Our children: In touch with their Spiritual Side.

It has recently become apparent to me that little sorcerers disguised as our children have infiltrated the Walker Camp. I am in increasing awe of their ability to apply mastery and cunning in a plethora of situations. I now present to you the various guises they assume and the mysterious happenings that surround them in an attempt to persuade you that this is no trick of my frazzled mind:

1)   The Poltergeist Effect: I’ve observed this to be most heightened during play-dates. Barely blink and there’s Lego hurtling across the room, upturned furniture, spillages, and dollies hanging from the plant pots creating a gruesome battlefield scene. Unfortunately there’s no Mary Poppins Effect to counteract it.

2)   Telepathy in Action: Some would say it’s a conspiracy, I say it’s telepathy. Either way there’s no chance anyone is getting a lie in in this house! Black out blinds, glo-clocks, late bedtime, bribery it’s all out thwarted by good old telekinesis! If one child is asleep the other JUST SENSES that it’s time to kick off the wide-awake club. I’ve observed this to be most effective following a parental date night, late night or bout of insomnia.

3)   Extra Sensory Perception: Mush, blend, cover in sauce, cover in cheese, distraction, bribery – there’s no chance that vegetable is making it within an inch of this mini mystic’s chops. They JUST KNOW they’re there! But hey, I guess when you’re superhuman, who needs vegetables anyway?!

4)   Force-field Production: The ability to detect a hot cup of tea and take swift IMG_8049defensive action in the form of an impenetrable force field is regularly employed in our household.This  ensures the tea isn’t interfered with in any way until it’s at least a few degrees cooler  Also a highly effective strategy for cooling hot dinners, toast, baths… anything that is most enjoyed warm.

5)   Time Warping: Only these otherworldly beings can explain how time is lost during the small tasks of tooth-brushing, coat buttoning and shoe fastening – suddenly half an hour has disappeared into the vortex and we’re late! This, I’ve found is most frequently used when preparing for the morning school run. And if for any reason it fails, simply employ the emergency dump tactic – straight into their nappies as you’re crossing the threshold of the front door desperately hoping to make up some time…

6)   But thank goodness for the Jet Propulsion Scooter! Which seems to take on a mind of it’s own when ridden by our celestial incarnation, especially when near busy roads, crowds of people or market stalls turning the school run into an adrenaline filled extreme sport.

7)   Memory Manipulation: “But Mummy you DID say we could have a treat… but you prommmmissed….”

8)   Environment Adaptation: Similar to the Poltergeist Effect but there’s more refined wizardry at work when repeatedly transporting pebbles, hairclips and raisins back into the washing machine. Not to mention the cheerios that miraculously keep reappearing in the bottom of my handbag. Spooky!

9)   The Regenerative Healing Factor: Seriously. The injuries we have endured, the screams and wails indicating a limb is at stake, the desperate pleas to make it better – within seconds the cut / graze or scrape is miraculously healed with the help of a small unassuming prop: The Princess Plaster!

10)   Last not least. The Visited and the Reincarnated Ones: ‘I don’t like the boy in the garden’ our eldest once claimed. The other insists on calling her sibling ‘Heena’ the name of a celebrated police dog of the Mumbai Police that died in 2005.

Unearthly? I’m convinced they’re all around us – I bet you have some in your household too attempting to outwit you at every step through the power of the paranormal…

If you enjoyed this, please check out my children’s story book: ‘Worm, Slug, Maggot & Leech and their Troublesome Transformation’ by Polly Walker which is for available to pre-order now at: https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/index.php/book/index/WormSlugMaggotandLeech

Thank you for reading!

Polly x

An author?! Moi??

My fuzzy head has just about cleared now from the celebrations over the weekend because – in case you missed it – I achieved my pre-order target, which means that my children’s story will be published!!!

My stock phrase for the last few days seems to be ‘I can’t quite believe it’ because quite frankly I can’t. It seems a bit weird to be referred to as an author or an illustrator… for some reason I feel like a bit of a fraud! But a very excited one at that!

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So I’m busying myself preparing my illustrations, arranging school visits for book readings whilst wracking my brain about how to now motivate people to continue pre-ordering… after all, this is just the beginning.

If I reach 1000 pre-orders I get a Book PR Package worth up to £2,500. If I reach 5000 pre-orders  I get a Book Marketing Package up to £20,000. It seems impossible now but 250 pre-orders felt pretty scary at the start too.

On top of all that I’m also allowing my mind to drift to thoughts of a sequel for my little characters. Are there any childhood issues that you’d like addressing via a book? Any discussions that you’d like to have which could be introduced through a story? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Once again, thank you. I am truly grateful for your support.

In my next blog I’m going to be writing about my daughter’s incredible magical abilities… You just wouldn’t believe it – we’re surrounded by some amazing ickle beings!

Polly x

‘Worm, Slug, Maggot & Leech and their Troublesome Transformation’ by Polly Walker is available to pre-order for £7.99 at: https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/index.php/book/index/WormSlugMaggotandLeech

Nearly there!!

As I write I have 9 (yes 9!!) pre-orders to secure before I reach my target to obtain a publishing deal with the new BNBS initiative. I’m unbelievably excited and resisting a massive urge to write a Oscar style thank you speech: I couldn’t have done it without you all etc etc, which is of course entirely true.

But I haven’t done it yet and I won’t without those final 9. So here is my last little plea to you in this exciting crowd-funded pre-order campaign…

If you haven’t already, please buy a copy of my book for £7.99 from:

https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/index.php/book/index/WormSlugMaggotandLeech

Don’t forget that international orders are accepted, so don’t let the fact that you live in tropical climes put you off. You will get your name (or your child’s, your niece, nephew’s etc) printed in the book as one of my supporters unless you choose not to.

Please share my blog via Twitter / email / Facebook with everyone you know … and maybe even retweet my blog with a Follow Friday later on this week (#FF) please?

If you’re not already following my Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech adventures you can via Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/wormslugmaggotleech

and Twitter:

@wsmladventures

Do you like a challenge? Would you like to be on my Street Team?! If you’re interested let me know and I’ll explain! Or maybe your son or daughter would….

Finally, don’t forget that last week and this week I am offering a little IMG_4100hand-made piece of artwork for a supporter selected randomly. Bribery and corruption. I know.

And if you’re already doing all these things and have been throughout my ‘pre-published’ journey, THANK YOU! I hope you know that I’m absolutely over the moon…. And I couldn’t have done it without you!

Thank you again for reading.

Polly x