Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Thank you. My name is G. Brian Benson and I am a self-improvement and children’s author, actor, spoken-word artist, filmmaker and TEDx speaker. I live in Los Angeles.
My most recent book Habits for Success – Inspired Ideas to Help You Soar was selected as a 2019 Book Excellence Award Winner in the Motivational book category. I have also written Brian’s List – 26 ½ Easy to Use Ideas on How to Live a Fun, Balanced, Healthy Life, Finding Your Voice, and the children’s books, Steve the Alien and Lucy and Chester’s Amazing Adventures!
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
It’s kind of a crazy story. I had never planned on becoming a writer. 10 years ago, I was running my family business which was a golf center in Salem, Oregon but I was really unhappy. I know a lot of people would give their “left arm” to have that job, but I didn’t feel like I was being true to myself and that bothered me. I felt like I had this giant gift inside of me that wanted to come out, but I didn’t know what it was …I just knew that it needed to be released. So, I left the business. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I trusted my decision.
While finishing up the last few months at the business I was struggling with finding balance in my life and I came up with the idea to write down a few things to help me to stay in balance through the process of leaving. They helped me so much, even though I wasn’t a writer, I decided to expand the list and try and write a book to help others as well. After self-publishing it, it even ended up winning a couple of awards which shocked me, but more importantly it gave me the direction I was looking for after leaving the business.
I knew that if I wanted to market the book, I would need to overcome my fear of public speaking so I stepped out of my comfort in a lot of different ways to deal with that. I started off by taking a couple of community college speech classes, I joined Toastmasters for a while, I hired someone to help me co-host my own internet radio show, took an acting class and I also created an “interactive” workshop that I could offer people. I really went for it! And as I did all of these things, doors opened and other opportunities presented themselves and I just kept going with the flow and before you know it, ten years later I have written 5 books and been creative in a lot of different ways.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
When I was three years old, I told my Mother that I was put here to “inspire” people. She reminded me of that after I wrote my first book ten years ago. It’s like I have always subconsciously known what my life’s mission was. After I wrote the first book and started exploring other creative avenues, everything was so new and exciting. It made me feel really empowered and alive and I liked how that made me feel, so I kept moving toward creation and it evolved in many different ways. I realized that it made me really happy and I was putting positive stuff out into the world. So, for the most part I am pretty self-motivated. But with that being said, I get very inspired watching documentaries or reading biographies about people who overcame a lot. It helps keep my pilot light on.
How do you deal with creative block?
I have got to the place of being able to give myself permission to take breaks when I need them. Prior, I would just try and plow through and I found myself falling out of balance and sometimes even getting sick. Anymore I know when it’s time to rest. Could be for a day or two, or even a week. And what is great is that when I come back, I am always extremely creative and back in flow. For me it didn’t pay to try and plow through. I need to go hike and tune in. That is where I get a lot of my ideas.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I have been lucky for the most part. So far, I haven’t received too much negative feedback or reviews. But the few times that I did, I won’t lie. It did bother me. The poor reviews brought up all kinds of fears for me. The fear that someone else considering purchasing the book would see it and then decide against it. That fear transformed into the “I will never sell another book again” which then transformed into “I will never reach my other goals and intentions” which then transformed into “I will never be successful” which then ultimately transformed into “I am a failure.” Which of course isn’t true…I know that. That review triggered parts of me that needed healing. I realize that not everyone is going to like what I do…it comes with the territory of sharing work in the public realm. Being reviewed is never easy…it’s essentially opening yourself up to being judged. I was at a place in my life where I also wasn’t as solid in my own self-acceptance and worthiness process. I am proud of my work and anymore I realize that when someone leaves negative feedback, more often than not it isn’t about me…it’s about them and where they are at in their lives. We must never be afraid to create. We have to do it for our own personal happiness and sanity. We create to spread beauty, to share ideas into the world, to bridge misunderstandings and to form connections with one another. And we have to do it at the risk of being judged.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I don’t think it has changed that much. I pretty much just act on something when I feel like it. My intuition lets me know. Pretty much anything that I have created (book, spoken word piece, film, etc.), I would get a strong “knowing” feeling that I needed to move forward.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I try to do both but most definitely lean toward personal satisfaction. The older I get the less I want to something that doesn’t get me excited or fill me up personally. I have tried to do what I feel like people wanted or what other authors were doing and it never went anywhere and didn’t feel as satisfying. I feel like we all have a lot in common and most of what I write about are the lessons that I have learned traveling on my own self-growth journey, so as I write, it is beneficial and cathartic to myself while hopefully inspiring others at the same time. I feel like I was put here to be a living example for others. I hope that my work gives others permission to explore and step into their own authentic versions of themselves. I don’t try and tell others what to do, I try to share what has worked for me.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
I think they play a huge role. It’s hard for me to be creative when I am feeling low. Because of that fact, I try really hard to stay in life balance and take care of myself with exercise, great sleep and healthy food. It doesn’t mean that I am always going to be feeling at the top of my game, but for those times that I am feeling low or going through an issue, it helps me move through it more consciously and graciously. Looking back, it’s no accident that my first book was on a whole bunch of ways to stay in life balance. I learned early on not only what through me out of balance, but also a whole bunch of positive habits to keep me in flow and proactive.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Meditation and hiking are my definite go-to’s. I get most of my ideas that way.
What are your plans for future books?
I know that I have more books in me, just not quite sure at this time. I wrote and released two books last year which was a lot of work, so right now I am just primarily focusing on marketing my “Habits for Success” book as well as getting my podcast going as well as a few video series.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I don’t even know where to start…lol. I am pretty routine oriented. That combined with my driven nature has helped me create a lot work. I also love history and a good documentary or biography. I used to have a lot of collections including Civil War and WWI artifacts, but let them go as I began my second career 10 years ago. I also love the history of baseball. And pretty much my one and only vice is plain black ice tea everyday. There you go!