George Saunders needs no introduction now. Tenth of December is without doubt a contender for my book of the year and it’s only February. As well as being a writer of humane and truly engaging short fiction he gives good interview, even when the interviewer is less than articulate. Case in point, the recent Amazon Asks with George in which he talks about his process:

His whole description of his writing method is wonderfully vague and intuitive. It certainly rang a bell for me, my process being largely about working out exactly what the story is trying to tell me.

The answer that jumped out at me most though was what he described as the first condition of his writing:

make sure that what you’re writing doesn’t suck and make sure that it engages

The fact that this was his answer to the old chestnut of when/if he’s ever going to write a novel makes this fried gold. The length of the story’s irrelevant. It’s the not sucking that matters.

This also got me thinking about what my first condition might be. I’m going to take ‘not sucking but engaging’ as a given now and add:

write the thing you want to read that no one else is writing

What would your first condition of writing be? Slap it in the comments and I’ll tot up a list post if there’s enough response.