The Highs and Lows of It All …

Today is Thursday, which means that Florida Christian Writers Conference–of which I am one of the two directors–is officially over for oneDSC_4867 year, minus four days.

dsc_6005We work so hard on this conference. Not just Mark Hancock and me, but also our conference director, Sarah Bulls, and our conference social director, Taryn Souders. For months before the conference begins, we meet on Thursdays at Panera to work on the details. To iron out the issues. We plot. We plan. We laugh. A lot.

In the weeks immediately preceding, the laughter increases. The work intensifies. Sleep decreases.

A lot.

And then, it’s game day! We arrive early, unload bins of equipment, set up rooms, look over the landscape of things. The faculty trickles in.  Conferees are not far behind. The noise in the main lobby becomes a cacophony of “HELLO”s and “OHMYGOODNESS”es. Some folks have not seen others in a year. Sometimes more.

It’s like Homecoming at an old country church. Minus the fried chicken and pecan pie.  DSC_5070

Praise and worship draws those present into the presence of God and invites God’s Holy Spirit into our midst. We sing. We clap. We raise our hands. Laughter echoes from the podium to those sitting in audience and back to the podium. “Go to your classes!” and “Go to your workshops!”

Then, of course, there is the food. I pretty much enjoy any meal I didn’t have to cook and I don’t have to clean up after.

DSC_8287More laughter. More excitement as writers meet with editors and agents and come away with hope. Or work. Or both.

And then … the faculty trickles away, heading back to their homes. The conferees follow. The last song is sung. The final “go forth and write” is expressed. Rooms are packed up. Boxes and bins are hauled into the cars of the four staff members. “We’re getting a storage unit” I say.

And we will …

I think I’m going to cry. In fact, I know it. Maybe not right then … I still need to decide what to do with the extra conferee handbooks and … what is this? Does anyone know what this is? Who it belongs to???

Christian writers conferences are an elation that can only be experienced personally. Rejoicing together. Praying for one another. Even when we receive a “negative word” (such as “this does not fit our editorial needs at this time”), we come away energized and ready to write! So happy to experience a protective arm from the rest of the world as we hone our craft. As we share and sing and … just … talk to one another.DSC_7431

Ah …

And then it is over. Finished. Until next year, we say. Figuring that 365 days are not really that long in the grand scheme of things.

The final door is closed, the tailgate of my Jeep is shut tight, and I drive home. I roll down the long driveway … unload the cargo … and finally snuggle on the sofa with my pups and my husband nearby.

And then I start to cry …

DSC_8304Is this a touch of heaven on earth? I suspect so.

 

(All photos by Christina Mack of Christina Mack Photography)

 

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Eva Marie Everson is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and the author of over 30 published works. Her novels have won numerous awards (including two Maggies, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award,and the AWSA Golden Scroll Award) and she has finaled for a Christy, a Carol Award, and a Gold Medallion). She is a wife, mother and grandmother and is pretty much owned by her dog, Poods. For more information about her work and life, check out her website: www.EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com

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Comments

  1. says

    How very many seeds must have been planted and what an incredible harvest lies ahead. Thanks for sharing the weekend with us. I feel like I was there! (Without all of the hard work, of course!)

  2. Julie Cantrell says

    sounds like a lot of fun and a positive experience for all. no one realizes how much time and effort goes into planning a conference until they’ve done one. nice of you to work so hard to share your talents with others.
    cheers (and enjoy that long exhale),
    j

  3. says

    This post makes me smile, remembering the first time I met Eva was at a writer’s conference similar to the one described in this post. I caught the “bug” that year and determined to become a novelist. Wonder which of your conferees caught that vision for their lives this year?

  4. says

    The hard work that you and your team put into this conference is clear, not only in the obvious things like workshops and the presences of quality faculty, agents, and editors, but also in the very personal ways. There was such a welcoming atmosphere. You and your staff were so approachable. I came away from conference excited, encouraged, and with an increased sense of competency.

    I’m sure those tears came from exhaustion, but I hope they were happy tears as well. I hope that once you took a breath you felt God’s smile and heard his “well done.” Because when it was all said, done, and sung–I think God was very pleased. I know he received much praise and glory.

    Thank you and your team for the hard work and commitment to Kingdom business.

  5. Lisa Wingate says

    Awww, Eva! Thank you for taking us to the Florida Christian Writer’s conference, even from many miles away. I know exactly what you mean. There’s nothing like being among those who know the agony and ecstasy, the hope and disappointment, and yes, the highs and lows.

    God puts the most wonderful people on this path with us!

    I hope you’re getting rested and pup-cuddled and ready to get back to writing. I know it seems like, after a big event, I always have a “lull day” or two before my mind snaps to attention again.

    I’m sure God knows that we need a lull day or a good cry every now and then, too ;)

  6. Rachel Hauck says

    So proud of you and Mark and this conference. Last year was wonderful and I know this year was even better!

    Now rest and relax. :)

    Love,
    Rachel

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