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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Creating a Text – Michael Allen

What phases are involved in the creation of a text?

1. Birth of an idea. Often accompanied by the wholly ludicrous (in retrospect) belief that this book/play/story/film will be the greatest thing since the introduction of loaves which do not call for the use of a bread knife.

2. Period of gestation and further thought, while driving to work, shaving, et cetera.

3. Long to very long period of hard work to get the thing written, the labour being sustained by the belief referred to in 1.

4. Sense of satisfaction at having achieved the greatest thing since… (see 1).

5. Initial submission to agent/publisher/producer.

6. First seeds of doubt.

7. Eventual publication/production.

8. Brutal demonstration through reviews, low sales, or even — it is not unknown — total inability to get the thing published/produced at all, that the belief which generated the hard work was wholly ludicrous.

You don’t have to be mad, but it is certainly an asset.

This is couched in jocular terms, but it actually corresponds quite closely to some of my own experiences, e.g. with ‘How and why Lisa’s Dad got to be famous’.

Michael Allen is the author of Lucius the Club and How and why Lisa’s Dad got to be famous. His website is at; and he blogs at

2 Responses to “Creating a Text – Michael Allen”

  1. Dear John,

    This is absolutely hilarious. Especially #1, #6, & #8.


  2. Paul says:

    So true, so very true.
    All it omitted was the self indulgence of the writer, and the long-suffering patience of those closest to them.