Writing My Novel: How Spider-man Showed Me I’m Meant to Be a Writer

In case you haven’t noticed by now, writing is kind of my thing. It’s what I do. I have Spider-man to thank for that, in more ways than one.

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.

Do any of you have a specific memory that has helped you define who you are? Feel free to share in the comments!

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. Very interesting, food for thought!

    But… MY defining moment… I will have to think about that. I am just pondering if I had a defining moment.

    1. I’m sure you do. What drew you to what you love?

      I also remember a time when I was in high school, I wrote 1-page humor stories for one of my friends every day after geometry. I wish I still had those pages. I’m sure they were awful, but he just guffawed and it made me feel so good.

  2. I love this post. Great stuff. My first “published” work is lost to the ages as far as I know. I used to write stories for this wrestling by mail league I did way back in the early 90s. I’ll find those old letters someday!
    I really dig the layout of your site too. Great job.

    1. Oh, wow, that would be awesome to find. I’m sure there are a ton of old stories that I’ve written and never thought of again.

      And thanks; I’m a big fan of this theme. You can thank WooThemes and GoogleFonts. I didn’t do much else. 😛

  3. My defining moment…hmmm…Probably when I was four years old, I “wrote” a play about ninjas. I then had neighborhood kids perform the play for everyone in the basement.

    That pretty much sums up the kind of dude I am.

  4. I’ve always loved doing creative/artistic things and I think a lot of that stems from my mother encouraging me and teaching me about different art forms.

    Now I work in video production professionally which is a visual and auditory medium. There’s a ton of room for creativity and it’s most definitely an art form. Then I come home and like to write, draw, and play in photoshop.

    I always have that creative bug in the back of my mind driving me to create something. That’s usually when I’m my happiest too.

    1. I feel the same way about my parents. They took the time to indulge me and impress on me how important reading and writing are, and it really stuck.

      There may be something about creative types that just can’t find solace without doing it. I mean, I understand what you mean when you say that’s when you’re at your happiest. Today, I started revising my novel for the first time, and it felt GOOD. Like right now, I know I have work-work to do, but I’m hankering to get back to that.

      Do you feel that way in terms of getting back to your video projects?

  5. My early defining moment was probably when I made my own playset. I took a cardboard box, flipped it over so the flaps were on the outside, and then drew roads on the flaps. The box was a building. I cut out other pieces to make little cars. Not much of a stretch to see how I went from there to making games.

    Although, I don’t remember my parents being too fond of me cutting up the box or using the permanent marker. 🙂

    1. See, I wish I had been able to do stuff like that. I remember being a kid and hating making things with my hands. I was never very crafty, and I got easily frustrated when I couldn’t make the physical object look like the one I had in my head. In a lot of ways, I’m stil that way; I can’t manipulate visual art at all. Maybe that’s why I gave up game design so easily when I actually learned to program…hmmm.

      Yeah, that’s not much of a stretch at all. I’m happy to hear that others have these same kinds of moments where things like kind of line up.

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