Why do you write?

By Keith Turley


“Talent develops in tranquility, character in the full current of human life.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


It was two years ago that nothing less than a miracle occurred that allowed me to be a participant at the first Faith & Culture Writers Connection in 2011. While it may be cliche to say that those events and the conference “changed my life”, in so many ways I can never go back to where I was before.

In 2010 I had made a decision that I was going to write a book, something that I had put off and resisted for many years, though I was encouraged by several close friends. I had been writing a devotional email several times a week to a dear group of “peeps” that had grown from what was at one time just my bible study to a group of nearly 100 people that I now considered friends. So, as I began to formulate how to go about writing a book I began to look at writing groups, and then writing conferences. I was a writer of devotional emails, not an author of a book. What did I know about the process, let alone the qualifications?

In my Google wanderings I found out about the 2011 Conference. It was fairly easy to make the decision to go, but finding a place to stay (coming from Bellingham, WA) was a struggle as I didn’t have the resources to commit to a hotel room. But I did find a place to stay with friends in Portland. Then, literally on the Wednesday before the conference those housing plans fell through and I gave in to my not wanting to drive down at 5:00am Saturday morning. I shared as much with Cornelia, as we had shared many emails to this point. She encouraged me to not give up. So, I made literally one last desperate call to some friends up river in White Salmon, and found I had a place to stay.

Probably my most powerful experience of the conference was finally meeting Cornelia. She was the only person I “knew” so I sought her out right away, and despite her other duties she made me feel part of a community that was new to me. Paul Louis Metzger’s keynote paved the way for incredible breakout sessions. Each session I attended was so valuable. In between sessions and during lunch I was able to meet not only other writers, but got a chance to talk with speakers and agents. Every conversation I had was so encouraging that I left with new contacts and friends, and the confidence that I could not only write but also publish book. I had the content. As a graphic designer and writer I had the skills, now I had new encouragement from new friends and other writers, I had new information, I had new confidence. I knew I could self-publish a book, which began another journey that has resulted in two published books…a journey which I will share at this year’s conference.

Fast forward…I still have the email from October 2012 where Cornelia invited me to speak at this year’s conference. Me? From a guest to a speaker? Once I picked myself off the floor, it only took me a few minutes to get past my fear of speaking and say yes. Cornelia’s friendship and support, even from a state away, made it so easy to say yes. Then the next day the topic of “why I write” was already formulating as the main subject, a topic I am so looking forward to sharing with others, as I believe it is foundational to all writers. For me, knowing the “why” of my writing gets me through many days I simply don’t want to or feel I can find the time to write.

I can not wait to be a speaker and participant at the Conference this year, it is such an honor, and such an invitation from Cornelia, who has become an incredible gift in my life.


  1. Cornelia Becker Seigneur says:

    Keith- Thank you so much for sharing your heart here! I love your enthusiasm and passion and the way you get it done-Your call to write and then your drive to get it done are so inspirational. I am honored your joined us at our first FCWC in 2011 and really glad you said yes to returning, this year as a speaker! I know you will do a fabulous job. I believe God is going to use your writing in powerful ways to make a difference for Him in the lives of others. See you April 5! — Cornelia

  2. Ashley Larkin says:

    Keith, what an incredible story! I am so thankful for all the ways God orchestrated you being at the conference in 2011. He has clearly done some incredible things in your life since that time! I’m very much looking forward to meeting you and am excited for our participants to hear your story. See you in a few short weeks!