How did you become a writer?
I was in high school. English class. I did little of the required reading. Even less of the assigned writing. Concerned, my parents called for a conference with my teacher, Mr. Carpenter. He told them that I was a lousy student, that I stared out the window during his lectures, daydreaming. My folks slumped in their chairs, envisioning their son’s future as a hobo. As they stood to leave, Mr. Carpenter stopped them. “The world needs dreamers,” he said. “Let your child look out windows as much as he likes. He’s creating stories and characters.” Every kid should have a Mr. Carpenter.
I studied theater and cinema in college. I began to find my voice.
I was young and restless, eager to jump-start my career. I started by producing television shows.
My parents were published writers, as was my sister. We lived in a house of books, ideas and lots of writing paper. Though it was in my DNA, I didn’t officially earn a living with my pen until I began writing for CBS’ daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.
What inspires you to write?
Other writing. Books, movies, TV, plays, commercials, billboards.
People watching. At airports, parks, ballgames, supermarkets.
Wondering what sort of stories, what kind of characters people, of all ages, would enjoy spending time with. Wondering why this writer just ended a sentence with a preposition.
What are your current/future projects?
I always have a few Word documents greeting me in the morning. Waxmanuscripts, I call them. My cursor blinks awake, demanding I feed it. I lie in bed at night contemplating different approaches to the next day’s unwritten page. Currently, I am midway through a MG novel introducing Toby, an overweight boy who relies on his frantic sense of humor to survive. Ahead, is an adult romantic comedy that features an older woman and younger man embroiled in a Hollywood heist. I’m also looking forward to my twelfth consecutive year as writer of The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for NBC.
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
Wake up early-ish. No breakfast. Hit the gym. Read the paper. Respond to emails. Yippee, lunchtime! Okay, time to work. Read yesterday’s writing. It stinks. Rewrite it. Write on. Dinner, already? Do the dishes. Watch the news. Write and rewrite for another hour or two... or all night. Repeat everyday, including weekends.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Get more sleep, no matter where. Write. No matter where or what. Take notes wherever you are. Study English in class.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Same as above. Plus… look out the window. Be realistic. Have a fallback skill, just in case. Mine is riding the rails.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?
Through my website: https://markswaxman.wordpress.com/contact-me/