Loving You Is Easy, Ben Rector

Loving You Is Easy, Ben Rector

I never knew that I could love someone the way that I love you, Ben Rector.

Disclaimer: know as you read this article, that I am without a doubt one of the biggest Ben Rector fans ever. Therefore, if by some miscalculation in your genetic code you do not like Ben Rector, you may find that this article contains bias towards Ben and all that he represents.

With that being said, you may be curious as to why I like this Ben Rector fellow so much, and I will tell you, through the eyes of an audience member at his most recent tour, "The Biggest Tour I Have Done So Far" on its stop in my hometown, Atlanta, Georgia.

65 degrees out and the sun setting over Chastain Park Amphitheater, Ben takes the stage with his song called "Fear". Since this wasn't a tour specific to one album, he spent the night engaging the crowd with all the greats, including "White Dress," "Brand New," "When A Heart Breaks," "Forever Like That," and "Favorite Song," just to name a few. I came to the concert with a friend who had never listened to Ben until that day, and the thing she commented on the most was his impeccable stage presence. From having a crowd-wide cha-cha slide to covering Bob Marley and the Jackson Five on stage, Ben can do it all. He's funny, witty, and really knows how to get a crowd into his music.

Aside from his stage presence and charisma, another thing that pulls in Ben's fans are his lyrics. His songs, whether funny and real like "Crazy" or slow and serious like "When a Heart Breaks" are simply genuine. Ben doesn't sing about drugs or sex, instead Ben sings about life, love, happiness, attitude, heartbreak, moving on, favorite songs, and people like his cab drivers. Ben is that guy that sings that song you want as your first dance song, or to cheer you up after a really long day.

And finally, one more reason people are crazy for Ben Rector is because this is truly a concert that you will not waste your money on. Like I've said above, his music is genuine and his stage presence is like no other, but Ben is one of those artists who sounds just as good, if not better, live as he does on his album. Now, I know little to nothing about all that goes into a concert like this, with the production and tracks and all, but one thing I do know is that Ben puts on an amazing show. I've been to concerts where the artist lets you down or doesn't sound as good without the magic of autotune, but a Ben Rector concert is not one.

This is the fifth time I've seen Ben Rector, and I can't wait until the next time he comes back within a 150 mile radius of where I live! Ben, thanks for letting the good times roll in Atlanta and keeping us wild and young and free and loud, I never knew that I could love someone the way that I love you!! If you haven't listened to Ben or are wondering when he is coming to your city next, check it all out at benrectormusic.com !!!

Cover Image Credit: me

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The Key To Ending Your First Draft Blues

Or at least getting through the next chapter with your hair intact

Ah, the first draft. We’ve all been there as writers. The day we decide to turn a blank word document into a 70,000 word (or more) masterpiece. Or, at least, that’s always the aim. Often as first-time writers, we go into the experience blind, learning as we go, and never really knowing whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

It can be frustrating at times, as most first drafts are a test of sanity. As somebody who had written ten first draft books (nearing eleven) in six years, I have had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to first drafts.

My first book ever took me four years just to write it, I started at the age of sixteen and finished by the time I was twenty. A year later I had written another. I then wrote one in thirty days, and nowadays I write about three to four books a year.

My point is, there is no science to writing. It is all about learning how to do it, and finding the methods that suit you best. I just wish I could have had someone to tell me all of that when I started.

With that in mind, here are my five pieces of advice on how to write your first draft:

#5 Embrace the Terribleness

The first draft is always the worst version of any story. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to move forward with your work. So you misspell a few words so bad that even Word can't help you. That shouldn't stop you from going with the flow. Your dialogue will feel hammier than a "Star Wars" film, but you'll clean it up the second time around. You're not expected to create a masterpiece on the first go, so just enjoy the ride.

#4 Suffer for your Art

Writing can be hard. I've said it enough times already, but it's true. You have to be prepared to suffer for it. The reason my first book took four years to write was because I didn't commit to it. The reason I wrote 80,000 words in thirty days was because I committed myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Now I average 3,000 daily. Is it painful to force 3,000 words to the page every day? Yes, but that's what you have to do to get the draft finished.

#3 Take your Time

Now I know this goes against what I just said, but it's important that you go at the pace you want to. I was happier writing 1,000 words a day, but I was eighteen then. At twenty-three, I'll never get everything done going at 1,000 words a day. Commit yourself to writing every day, even if its only 200 words. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get to the finishing line quicker if you jog a steady pace rather than adopting a sprint and rest mentality.

#2 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Yes, it's important to remember what colour your character's hair is, which one is taller, and what weapon they are carrying. Although with that said, it is important to keep going forward. In my editing, I go over everything with a fine comb, often with a character profile at my side. Don't get bogged down giving every little detail the first time around, you'll have time for that later. The hardest thing is getting it down the first time.

#1 Keep the Story Going at All Costs

This kind of goes without saying, but it is by far the most important step for me. You have to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter if you have to use the biggest Deus ex machina to get your plot going again, you can always edit it away in the re-draft. I use a technique called automatic writing, which means that I don't plan every detail of a chapter. I simply write it as I go. This allows me to give my characters natural reactions as events often come as a surprise to me too.

Obviously it is good to have a rough idea of what is meant to happen, but as long as you can get your characters from A to B, then you are half way there. The other half will be polishing it to the point you can see your reflection.

Good luck, and happy writing.

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer%27s_Block_I.jpg

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4 Steps To Writing a Haiku

It's Fun I Promise

You've probably had to write a haiku for English sometime in your school career. You most likely found it boring, or difficult, or just plain stupid. I am going to try and show you a more fun way to write a haiku.

1. The Basics: What You Should Know

In case you don't know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that is only three lines long. It is usually taught that the syllables in each line should go 5-7-5. But really, as long as there are 17 syllables or less in the three lines, it's a haiku.

2. Write to Get a Reaction

When you write a haiku, you are aiming to get one of three reactions: Aaaahhh, aha!, or ha ha! For example...

Aaahhh: Laying in bed/dog next to me under blanket/my furry heater

Aha!: Life is too short to love people/who do not deserve/your whole heart

Ha ha!: I'm on the toilet/and my stomach drops/the roll is empty

3. Create an Image

In your writing, you want to create a new image in your readers mind with each line. Take my first haiku for example. I first talk about laying in bed. Then, I say there is a dog next to me under the blanket, so you picture a lump under the covers. In my last line, I call him a furry heater so you imagine a heater covered in fur. The image you create is more important than the syllables.

4. Performing

Lastly, you need to think about performing your haiku. As always, when you're speaking in front of a room of people, you need to project so the whole room can hear you and you need to make eye contact. Another thing to remember is the tone of your voice while you are saying your poem. Dramatic pauses can keep people on the edge of their seat, waiting for what you're going to say next. You also have to remember to be confident! And if you're not confident, fake it till you make it!

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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