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Donald Miller is a Freaking Genius.


I attended Donald Miller’s Storyline Conference, and let me just say right now: You should, too.

I have much to say, write, and respond to, both on the blog and in my own heart, after spending my days in a room filled with people who have invested time and money in their efforts to ‘write a better story’ for themselves.

Donald Miller is a freaking genius.

I’m an avid reader of all his stuff, and when I met him in person, he did not disappoint. Really, in any way at all.

Because, did you just read that? I met him in person.

He had just finished talking about intentionally creating inciting incidents. This is the writing metaphor for knocking down the first domino: one thing causes another to happen. You can set something in motion to put some plot in your story.

He invited us to think about our roles and ambitions, and then think about an inciting event we could implement to add some plot.

“Does anyone have anything they’d like to share? Any inciting events you could create in your life?”

From my spot in the third row, I raised my hand. He looked to me and smiled.

(Fact. Donald Miller makes intentional, piercing eye contact.)

“I’m a young widow. My husband died last year, when my children were three and five. Now they are four and six, and we need some happiness. We need to create some adventures, just the three of us, instead of hoping and waiting for our family to be complete. We’re a tricycle. We need to go places. We need some adventures.”

He has a gentle, knowing smile.

“You are a tricycle. Wow. I love that. First, I am so sorry for you and your family. And that idea is really very beautiful. You and I are going to stay in touch – you have a story to tell, and this room is filled with a curious audience. I love this. Have you thought of starting a blog?”

I nodded. I’ve given it some thought.

“You could start a blog, and tell your readers that you and your sons are planning some adventures. That could be your inciting event: when you tell your readers you’re going to go on an adventure, and then write about it.”

Gentle, knowing smile.

“We’re going to keep in touch.” He pointed to me, like punctuation at the end of his sentence, and then he called on another person with a raised hand.

I talked to him at the break as he knelt over his Mac and gathered his notes for the next session. I introduced myself, gave him my business card.

“Thank you, Tricia. Oh, you’re a writer?”

“I am.”

“That’s so great – I want to see where this goes.”

(Perhaps raising my hand among hundreds of people is, in itself, an inciting event. I daresay exchanging a business card with Donald Miller perhaps qualifies.)

So, I’m thinking of planning a few adventures. Creating some plot lines, inciting events – happiness, if you will.

I think I’ll write about it.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. I’m so excited for you. I’m excited that you had the opportunity to go to a Storyline conference. (I’m also jealous.) I’m excited that you raised your hand and found the courage to share about your tricycle. I’m excited that you got to meet and talk with Donald Miller. BUT I’m most excited about your adventures yet to be had. This takes the most courage of all in my opinion.

    Thank you for sharing your story with all of us and I cannot wait to read about how it continues to unfold.

  2. I love Don Miller! Just saw his movie over the weekend. He is awesome!

  3. Neat, neat and inciting!

  4. That’s wonderful!!!! So exciting. I can’t wait to hear where it goes either.

    Enjoy your adventures!

  5. I have chill bumps for more reasons than I can post here:) I lovelovelove this!! I really want to attend Donald’s workshop as well. Will check out when he is coming to town.

  6. But did he have an impressive coffee bar (with whipped cream) at his talk?

    • You’re darling, Nada. 🙂 🙂

  7. And I shall read about it! 🙂 Way to go Tricia!! You are brighter today than anyone could have ever imagined. Praise be to our God that gives you the grace and strength to be the fighter, survivor, fierce Mama that you are! ((HUGS))

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