We were lucky to catch up with Roy Schwartz recently and have shared our conversation below.
Roy, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. What do you think matters most in terms of achieving success?
Equal parts fortune and fortitude. The funny thing is that the two things that allowed me to succeed in life are contradictory: one is focus. Know exactly where you want to be, and have a clear plan of how to get there. People meander, drift around, wander with the whims of fate instead of being proactive. Before they know it, they have a family to take care of and their career has gone all over the place instead of straight up. I never took my eyes off the target.
The second thing that’s helped me is ironically the opposite; being open to chance. I took a gig just to pay the bills, writing some copy for a law firm. I called it translating Legalese to English. Turns out that I liked it, and that I had a knack for it. I was offered a job, which I was very hesitant to take because I felt it’d distract me from my goal, but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So I figured I’d do it for a bit and save up.
A decade since, I’m the CMO of a regional law firm based in New York. I can’t say it’s the exciting creative job I’d always imagined for myself, but it’s a job I truly enjoy, it’s intellectually stimulating, I work with quality people, I can support a family, and I find time to write books and articles. Even if my last book took 6.5 years to finish.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I’m an author, writer, and pop culture historian/critic. During the day I’m disguised as a mild-mannered CMO for a great metropolitan law firm.
I write about pop culture for The Forward and for CNN.com. I’ve written for publications like New York Daily News, Jerusalem Post, and Philosophy Now.
I’m the author of two books, with a third under contract. The first is “The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There,” a dark fantasy for middle graders. The second is “Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero,” which is mainly a history book. It won the 2021 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title in the World, which I’m prouder of than I probably should be.
My professional writing has been similarly diverse. I’ve written for educational organizations, tech companies, toy companies, and production studios.
I’m most proud of my recent book and some of my recent articles. If I’m ever prouder of something older, I’ll take it as a sign that I’m not moving forward. I always want to evolve, to get better.
You can find me at royschwartz.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as @RealRoySchwartz. Say hi, I love to chat with interesting people.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
It’s in the name “creative”—the most rewarding thing is to create. Something didn’t exit a moment ago, and now it does, and it’s because you created it. And hopefully, in one way or another, what you created matters. It’s almost godlike, “let there be” and then there is.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
Everyone thought I was going to be a doctor. I showed them!
- Website: https://www.royschwartz.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realroyschwartz
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/realroyschwartz
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roy-schwartz-1503a595/
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/realroyschwartz