This post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclaimer here.
Donald Miller talks a lot about this thing called an “inciting incident“. Apparently, it’s what a character within a story plot must go through in order to change or “become a better person”. I understood the concept from a distance. Now I understand it from a more close up perspective.
The inciting incident was Alyssa and I saying we’re going on a seven month cross country trip.
The characters are: Alyssa and I
The dilemma: Being on the road is hard. You don’t always have electricity. Sometimes in order to limit funds you eat peanut butter and jelly for days at a time. Other states don’t have as much queso. Chasing your dreams is hard.
The character transformation is: Still taking place
Does that make sense? I hope so. Let me try telling you in another way.
In college I worked for a moving company. It’s really easy to build muscle and strength when you move heavy furniture. It’s easy because when you pick up a 300 pound, $5,000 piece of furniture- you aren’t going to drop it. It doesn’t matter if you’re only half way from the truck to the living room. You suck it up and you tend your wounds later. If you drop something, it comes out of your own pocket. So you just don’t drop things, not ever.
I endured a lot of sore days during my time at the moving company. But I also learned something. I was a lot stronger than I realized. I found myself picking up objects I would have never thought I could handle. I also acknowledged the fact that if there was no heavy, expensive couch, I wouldn’t work that hard to become stronger. I had to have a good reason. I needed an inciting incident.
I now have another inciting incident in my life. It’s 30 feet long and eats gas like the cookie monster devours a fresh batch of oatmeal raisins. And it won’t be coming back to Texas until this trip is over, until we’ve finished our mission. Right now we’re putting in long hours and feeling the road start to wear down on us.
We’ve had stressful days in the past. But after those days you can wind down on the couch or take a dip in the apartment pool. There are no pools on the road. Most of the time the wifi won’t even load google. If Alyssa and I have an argument, there are no rooms to escape to. We make it work, together.
It’s not like me to write posts about feeling down or tired, but the honest truth is- I am.
This is the life we chose, though. We chose to be on the road. We chose to take big risks and leave our steady jobs behind. Right now I’m carrying the couch on my shoulders and walking off the loading truck. It’s just starting to burn a little and I have a long way to go.
But somehow I know we’re going to make it. I just know.
We have to keep going, because this is where the character transformation happens. You can only change or become better by going through a little bit of pain. Trials strengthen faith and make you a better person. It’s a period of time we have to go through in order to get to where we want to be.
Where do we want to be?
We want to publish books. Self publishing or traditionally. We’re not sure yet which route will be for us, but books are definitely a part of it. Alyssa’s first book is called “From Type A to Class C”, and will feature her story of breaking out of her comfort zone in order to go on a wild adventure. My book is about how to “Build Something”, and you can read this if you want to learn more.
There’s more to our story than just writing, but this is all I’m going to share for this post. 🙂