10 Questions for…Gary Unger – “How to Be a Creative Genius”


Author #4: Gary Ungercreativegeniuscover-sm-1

Gary Unger, author of "How to Be a Creative Genius"

Gary Unger, author of "How to Be a Creative Genius"





“The guy can see around blind corners.”  Author, speaker and advertising consultant Gary Unger received this high praise from a client after yet another successful engagement. Gary is a creative powerhouse and gifted humorist driven by his passion to share both gifts with the world. His message is clear: Be yourself and have fun doing it!  His clever and insightful writing style never fails to inspire laughter and deep thought, sparking the fountain of creativity buried in the minds of his readers.

Gary Unger’s message in How to Be a Creative Genius (in five minutes or less) has been honed by more than a decade of success in the advertising industry. Currently, Unger is an advertising consultant who has worked on creative campaigns for industry titans such as Chick-Fil-A, General Motors and the National Basketball Association. He is the originator of AutoZone’s “Get in the Zone” ad campaign, the longest running ad campaign in the company’s history. Gary’s creative work has been featured in numerous publications and has also earned him a place in the Levi Strauss T-Shirt Hall of Fame. 

Unger is the creator of a proprietary creative process called XDO, a process blending actions, material and the existential in order to unlock the creative potential of its practitioners. If creativity requires only a spark to ignite, Gary Unger, in the words of BrightHouse founder and certified creative genius Joey Reiman, is “box of matches.”

A native of Reedsport, Oregon, Gary currently resides in the Atlanta, Georgia area with his wife and three children. To learn more about Gary, please visit www.garyunger.com.

1. Tell us about your latest book. A tongue in cheek look at being creative. I attack the myths that people think about creativity and help them make their own path to being more creative. As people read each line and consider what I am saying, they’ll forge in themselves mental alerts later on that they can change and be more creative. I also give direct tips from history’s geniuses.

2. How did you get started as a writer? I’ve always been able to write short stories or poems. I’m not good at grammar and punctuation, so I fell into advertising instead. : ) I still don’t really consider myself a writer I prefer to think of myself as someone who creates. That can be art, writing, philosophy, design, social economics, etc.

3. What does a typical day look like for you? Pretty sporadic. I have certain routines like getting on social networks in the morning for a few hours, then they paying work, phone calls, emails, family time and then to close out the night I check in on the social networks again.

4. Describe your desk/workspace. I have a pretty large office. It used to be the formal dining room, but we never entertain, so I took it over. I have a large desk with a two monitor Mac. I keep one side of my desk as the “in” side and the other side as the “done” side. The done side is usually ignored for a while since its already “done” and I usually delay in filing that side for a long while. On the other side of my office is a small work desk where my kids do their school work.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers). How To Be A Creative Genius (in five minutes or less) by Gary Unger. “Why didn’t I think of that” by Charles McCoy. “Green eggs and ham” by Dr. Seuss

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you. 1) I’ve been close to death for numerous reasons 4 times. 2) I won’t eat tomatoes but love salsa. 3) I grew up on the Pacific Coast but never been on the ocean.

7. Favorite quote. “I used to try and change the world, now I try to change myself”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer. Putting ideas/self out there for others to criticize.

9. Advice for other writers. Write! Even if no one reads it or likes it. And you don’t have to write every single day, but set aside times to write often. My other piece of advice would be to get on the social networks. The one that has worked best for me is LinkedIn.com (www.linkedin.com/in/garyunger) but writers should get on a bunch of them and see where their market is and focus on that one (keep the other sites maintained too, you never know when the market will switch). You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, and about 15 other sites.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. When I had the idea for Creative Genius I knew that if I tried to write a verbose “know it all” book, I’d never finish it. I also knew that if I wrote it based on my own humor and taste for sarcasm, many people wouldn’t immediately get the idea of the book. It took me six months to write my little book, 2.5 years to get it published and almost 9 months to see it in stores. After the book came out I was surprised to see that people do understand sarcasm and the affect it has on the reader. Even some reviewers (2 out of about 25 reviews) remember my book when they find themselves in a rut. It’d be nice if they reposted that review though. : ) Also in my writing experience I have found it hard to take but if I push through the negative responses from my writing, things work out. From my little book I’ve been able to produce a TV show, get paid to travel to other states and countries. Never give up!

Where can people get your book?  You can buy my book directly from my site www.garyunger.com if you want it autographed. You can also buy it at any brick and mortar store like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Tower, World wide (too many to list here), etc. and of course Amazon.com

2 responses »

  1. Great answers to the questions! I enjoyed hearing your story and certainly understand the thought processes and feelings that you stated above. Thanks for sharing!

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