David Kushner

How did you become a writer?

My freshman writing teacher in college encouraged me to pursue it. So I switched my major from Business to English Lit. I liked how it didn’t require me to memorize anything for a grade. Writing came more easily to me than other things, and I enjoyed it. I started writing for the school paper, mainly to get free concert tickets and CDs. Then I discovered Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, and decided to move to New York after college and try to make it as a writer. It took me a while to break into magazines, but, after working for an early online startup, I got my break with Spin magazine. The Internet was just taking off, and, because of my experience in the field, I was sort of an expert by default. I began writing a monthly digital culture column for Spin then finally got an assignment for Rolling Stone, which eventually led to my first book, Masters of Doom. 

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

Hunter Thompson, Tom Wolfe, MAD magazine, the Atari 2600, The Executioner’s Song, David Foster Wallace, T.C. Boyle, Vonnegut, Kafka, Orwell, Cormac McCarthy, my parents, film and TV.

When and where do you write?

Ideally my desk during the day. But if need be any time or place (preferably with electricity and WiFi).

What are you working on now?

Magazine stories, a screenplay, a book.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

No. I consider time spent staring blankly at my screen to be part of the process. 

What’s your advice to new writers?

Read, write, and be persistent.

David Kushner is the author of Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, Jacked, and The Bones of Marianna. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, New York Times Magazine, New York, GQ, and Playboy. The winner of the New York Press Club award for Best Feature Reporting, Kushner has been included in The Best American Crime Reporting, The Best Music Writing, and The Columbia Journalism Review's Best Business Writing anthologies. His ebook, The Bones of Marianna, was chosen by Amazon as a Best Digital Single of 2013. He has taught as an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University, and is the former digital culture essayist for National Public Radio Weekend Edition Sunday. In the mid-90s, we was a prouder and writer for the pioneering music site, SonicNet. Several of his books and articles are being developed for feature film and television. Web: www.davidkushner.com,Twitter: @davidkushner.