My first year of college, we studied graphic novels like The Essential Spider-man in my freshman comp courses. That was the first time I realized that I could make a living writing about things I love. I could read and write about Spider-man and Batman and get paid for it. So I changed my major from Psychology into English, and we all know what’s happened from there.
But before that, when I was younger, I always remember having a book in my hand. Not just a book that I was reading, either. A lot of time, it was a book or notebook I was writing in. One of my earliest and most defining memories is being a toddler with a blank notebook, writing stories for my parents.
What is that, you say? That’s unpossible? Toddlers can’t write stories?
Technically, you’d be right; toddlers can’t write stories. Let me explain.
I remember being 2 or 3 years old, and I remember being in our living room. I’m lying in the floor on my stomach with a book in front of me and a pen in my hand.
It’s a red and black book, a blank journal of some kind, and I’m writing in it. I’m scribbling wavy lines across the page, and I’m even putting spaces in them as though they’re words. When I fill up a page, I run to one of my parents, and I tell them I’ve finished a story and want to read it to them.
They humor me, and I remember telling them about Spider-man. He’s saving the day somehow, but I don’t remember any details. All I remember is that the stories were about Spider-man. When I finished reading the story to one parent, I’d go to the other, and I’d read it to them. But the story would change. Then I would go back to the dining room floor, turn the page, and I would write a new story and repeat the process.
This went on through three or four stories, and each time, my parents indulged me by stopping what they were doing and listening to my Spider-man adventures.
I found that notebook a long time ago. I was 16, and we were moving into a new house. I haven’t seen it since, and because I’ve moved more than a couple of times, I think the notebook is gone forever, lost in moving van limbo.
But that memory makes me realize that I am doing the right thing in pursuing a career as a writer. It speaks volumes about who I am. I mean, one of my earliest memories is being a storyteller, after all.
In a lot of ways, two of the most defining moments in my professional life only came about because of Spider-man. So thank you, Peter Parker, for giving my life direction.
It’s Who I Am
Whenever I get a bit discouraged that I am putting so much energy into what may amount to being a pipe-dream, I think about that memory. I remember that writing and telling stories is not just something I am doing right now, something I’ll get tired of and burn out on; it’s something that has been a part of my life literally as far back as I can remember.
That’s how I know that I’m doing the right thing. That it’s not a waste. Not to mention that when I’m completely burned out on whatever is pulling me in a thousand directions, all I have to do to de-stress is open up Blogo or Google Docs and start typing.
Putting words on paper just feels right.
Do You Have a Defining Moment?
Everyone has a dream. I have a dream. You have a dream. That dream stems from something. The hard part is pinpointing what that something is. It might be as simple as my Spider-man memories, but it may also be something much more profound.
Either way, something in your life has defined the path you’re on right now. If you haven’t given it much thought, you should. Think back. If you’re not content with where you are, where did you lose it, and more importantly, where can you find it again?
Once you’ve realize where your dreams stem from, you can start working toward it. You can start doing little things to help you achieve it.
My little thing is writing as often as I can. Blogging and pushing drafts of short stories and outlines for novels. It’s putting my butt in the chair and doing whatever it takes to treat writing like the job I want it to be.
No matter what you’re working toward, you can find small steps to get there. It may be reading blogs about those who are already doing what you love. It may be starting a new independent projects or taking up an old hobby. Maybe it’s attending a night class. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you actively work on becoming who or what you are meant to be.
So dig deep and find your Spider-man.