Talli Roland’s Brain: Revealed

I’m delighted to welcome Talli Roland back to the blog today. Talli was here a little while ago, defending Chick Lit – you can read the post here.


And as Talli’s such a top lady and author, and because her latest book has just been released on the Kindle, I thought it was about time to ask her back. So here she is, talking about those niggly What-if questions us authors have. Enjoy!



Answering the ‘What Ifs’

While generally, being a writer is fantastic (coffee, wine, coffee, wine), one of the negatives is a little thing called doubt. Unlike traditional jobs, you don’t have people around to pat you on the back or provide solutions while you pound out the words. There’s just you, your brain, and your laptop. Inevitably, an army of swarming questions launches an attack.

A small selection of things rattling around my brain last night:

  •                   What if I can’t get my novel exactly where I want it to be?
  •                  What if people hate my new novel?
  •                  What if I have to go back to a full-time job — how will I explain a three-year absence?
  •                   How will I ever retire on a non-existent pension?

I think I’ll stop there; I don’t want to bring you all down! When I get in such a state (which I have to admit, is quite often), I try to turn around the questions into positives. Imagine this:                     What if I become a best-selling author with multiple novels?

  •                     What if I make enough money to have financial security?
  •                     What if my husband and family are just so proud they can’t stop telling me?
  •                     What if I believe in myself and have the confidence and focus I need?

You know, strangely, I usually feel a whole lot better! It’s not rocket science to say ‘focus on the positives’, I know, but sometimes when it comes to the ups and down of the writing life, it really does make a difference. At least, until the next bout of insomnia!

What are your what-ifs, positive or negative?


Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. Her first novel, The Hating Game, was an Amazon UK best-seller, remaining in the top 100 for almost three months, and she’s just released her second, Watching Willow Watts. Talli blogs here and can be found on Twitter here.


19 Comments on “Talli Roland’s Brain: Revealed

  1.  by  Jane Lovering

    Thank you, Talli, for making me even more insecure than I was in the first place – now I have to go and drink more wine to recover. What if I never sober up enough to write anything else – that’s my big one… And best of luck with ‘Willow Watts’, I’m looking forward to reading it!

  2.  by  Paul Anthony Shortt (@PAShortt)

    I try not to think of the negative what-ifs. Things like “What if my book doesn’t sell well?” “What if I don’t get a deal for the sequel?” and “What if I can’t write enough books to stay in the market” just bring me right down.

    I like to think of the positives in more certain terms than “what if.” I say to myself “I am a bestselling author,” “My next book is going to be even better than the last.” I find it’s much easier to stay positive if I think of my goals as already being attained and it’s just watching to see everything catch up to them.

  3.  by  Neil

    Talli, you are so right.

    Fear of success can be just as crippling as fear of failure: e.g. what if people love this book and expect me to write another one?

    I’ve been earning my living as an independent/freelance writer for the last 15 years and the doubts never go away: e.g. what if nobody ever wants to buy another article? What if it turns out that I can’t write after all?

    It’s easy, too, to take many of the positive aspects of the writing life for granted (sure, I keep my own hours, get to invest in my ideas, can spend lots of time with my children but…) and focus on the irrelevant negatives (I’ll never get invited to an office Christmas party again, boo hoo).

    •  by  Talli Roland

      Neil, yes! There are so many positives to the writing life and it’s easy to forget them and get buried in the anxieties. I’m not sure I’ll ever miss the office Christmas party, though…

  4.  by  Carol Kilgore

    I don’t get in a funk too often, but when I do I have to tell myself to just stop. And then after a bit I’m OK. Part of any creative endeavor, I think.

  5.  by  J.L. Campbell

    I think we all have these doubts. I still have a job, but would looooooooove to be able to write full time. Enjoy it…and shake off those negatives as quickly as you can when they come.

    Hi, Nik – visiting here for the first time. Have a great day!

  6.  by  Ranae Rose

    I’m like you, Talli. Sometimes I do have doubts. I’ll be halfway through a novel I thought was just the greatest idea ever when I’ll stop and wonder ‘God, what if this is total crap that makes people barf on their Kindle screens as they read it?’ Such thoughts usually don’t last too long before I remember what I like about the story and think other people will enjoy. It’s kind of like being hit by a lightning-strike of doubt – eventually it fades and I’m my regular self who’s confident in my work again.

    And then of course I start having those grandiose thoughts about the possible greatness I could acheive if readers do love the story after all. lol

    •  by  Talli Roland

      Barf on their Kindle screens, ha! I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel that way, Ranae. 🙂 The grandiose thoughts are vital to balance the less happy ones.

  7.  by  Lizzi_writer

    Talli, I really appreciate what you had to say. I’ve only been writing a few months but just put in my first 7500 words to the RWNZ Strictly Single comp and first chapter will go into New Voices and a cute little 1000 words went into into Scarlet Boa yesterday. I’m trying to make it go!! Keeping away from the negs is a fantastic reminder. I’m going to print your blog here and post it on my forehead… or the desk anyway! Read it every day.
    thanks for that, needed to hear that! thanks for visiting my blog!

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