I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lessons from Caesar: Conquering the Writer's Life

In military dispatches home declaring victory in his 47 BC war in Pontus (Turkey), Julius Caesar wrote, "Veni, Vidi, Vici."
I came, I saw, I conquered.
I hope that is also our report for those of us who attended ACFW--and those who stayed home: setting goals and achieving them (or most of them) and writing victory messages.
A gifted strategist, Caesar didn't reach Rome's highest political pinnacle by military prowess alone. His crafted words to Rome's citizens were the "horse" carrying him to emperor-ship. Before he was well-known, Caesar became popular as his Gallic (French) Wars and other military dispatches won wide readership because of their hilarious, timeless tales. For example, since Hannibal conquered Rome using elephants and those beasts terrified Romans, Caesar reported that France had elephants too, that his soldiers cleverly defeated. They discovered elephants sleep upright leaning against trees, so using two-man, cross-cut saws, soldiers sawed in rhythm to elephant snores, until trees toppled and beasts fell on their sides, allowing soldiers to leap on board and dispatch them. Ridiculous? Yes. Unforgettable? Absolutely!
Similarly, before battles and after giving his men brilliant military strategy, Caesar's best joke writers delivered the funniest possible stories so troops ran into battle roaring with laughter. History reports that more than half of all enemies faced turned and fled before fighting.
Popular Caesar-crafted phrases stay with us such as "Divide and conquer," and "Crossing the Rubicon." Catchy phrases work for us too, producing God-inspired writing that delivers, motivates and produces change. At ACFW, some met with success while other heard no or not yet. Meanwhile, we continue honing skills, scrimmaging, i.e. practicing our pitches, and preparing for our next engagement--all with a dose of humor.

For me, being a Genesis finalist means more open doors to walk through. Though I didn't win, I won the fabulous wealth of great friendships and prayer support from those there and at home. God is in charge. His answers for all of us are yes, no or wait, but keep working.
May we write every day as pens held in His hand expressing Him, while encouraging one another.

Delores Topliff


  1. Dee, you are so right. We definitely need a strategy, and tools like conferences and My Book Therapy are ideal ways to hone our skill.

    Right now I'm in the wait, but keep working stage, and your post is a great encouragement!

    Rooming with you was a treat and a joy...just wait until next year, no telling what kind of trouble we'll get into! lol

  2. Thanks, Pat. It makes me laugh (& tired) to think of it!

  3. Dee, Loved this post. I had no idea about all these aspects of Julius Caesar. You taught me much about him, but also about the importance of being purposeful, whether God's answer to us is yes, no or wait but keep working. (I wonder how long he had to keep watching elephants to figure out how to overcome them...?)

    I always appreciate your words of wisdom and ways of expressing them. :) BTW, if I didn't congratulate you on finaling in the Genesis, CONGRATULATIONS! I was thrilled to hear about it! :) Miss you.

  4. Reading your posts is like indulging in a mini history lesson. I love learning what you share with us. Also, when I read your posts, I can hear your voice.

    Strategies are so important for planning a writing career. Learning the craft, applying it to our manuscripts and submitting to editors and agents will help us to conquer the enemy who wants to keep us from the One who gives us that passion and the courage to fight to victory.

    Blessed by your words, my friend.

  5. What an awesome post DEE. Divide and Conquer!

  6. The interaction w/ each of you, and always your encouragement, makes it such fun to post (& always appreciate Beth's wonderful techy help in doing so.) What a great group of gals!
    One course I do teach is college history, (can you tell?) so it filters in. Never liked history until I finally had a good teacher. We're blessed w/ Susie & Rachel as great writing teachers, too. Makes us love what we do!

  7. Reebs, that looks like a pretty fascinating new super-hero profile pic--we're sure there's a story behind that!

  8. I love your stories. Thanks so much for this post!

  9. Expressing him and encouraging one another ... wonderful goals, indeed.

  10. Beth stole my comment! :)- What a concluding sentence, Dee.

    I've learned a lot from you in a short amount of time. Thank you!

    From a different "style" of pen expression.

  11. I appreciate all of your comments. So blessed we can interact like this, and sometimes meet in person!