Norman told me all about how he got his start as a screenwriter. Apparently, back in the mid-1960's, when Mel Brooks lived and worked in NYC, he went to the same Chock Full O' Nuts every morning for coffee. So Norman showed up there every morning on a daily basis and repeatedly -- as in over a period of months -- pestered Mel to give him a shot as a writer.
Eventually Mel handed Norman a piece of paper with a phone number on it and simply said "Call this guy". That guy was the producer of Get Smart. So Norman wrote a script for the show which impressed the producer. But Get Smart was soon canceled and the script never saw the light of day. Nevertheless, the producer had made Norman feel reassured about his craft as a writer and that was all it took to make Norman pack up and move to Los Angeles. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I dig stories of perseverance, especially from writers who've achieved a lot. It's inspiring. And God knows we all need a little inspiration now and then to get by ... and to have the guts to put pen to paper. Writing ain't easy, even for the best of us. But we stick with it. So if you're a writer and you're reading this -- enough reading. Write!