ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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The Internet Is Some Trippy Shit (And Also Maybe The Key to Business AND World Peace?)

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

The internet is some trippy shit, isn't it?

You're sitting here reading this, and you don't even know me. But it feels like you do, doesn't it? I get that a lot. In fact, one of the most common emails I get about anything I write is always, “GET OUT OF MY HEAD,” which sort of makes me sound like some kind of psychic creeper internet alien. Except I don't believe in psychics and I'm only a creeper when somebody gets a book published, because that's what writers do to one another, you know? You snarl at the cover. (Despite thinking it's quite lovely.) You roll your eyes at the dedication page. (Though their Great Aunt Patricia DOES sound divine.) You do that thing where you compare every sentence you've ever written to every sentence they've ever written, before haughtily tossing it over your shoulder and finally admitting that OKAY FINE IT'S A GOOD BOOK WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT FROM ME?!

If you're nodding your head along with that, then not only are you just as big of a jerk as me, but what I've just described just happened, which is basically that we're all horrible people, and that's why Cards Against Humanity is such a big hit, and wouldn't you know? We're all really thinking the same thing. (Unless you're Miley Cyrus, in which case, I've got nothin'.)

But, really, I wonder how many other people are thinking the exact same thing as you, except you never really know about it, right? Because most people aren't tweeting out their lives and/or writing really long obnoxious run-on sentences full of bad words and reflections on every bad choice they ever made since the internet came out.

Take the guy watering the lawn in his boxers with the toothpick in his mouth.

Are we thinking the same thing, dude? Or what about the woman at the grocery store with the almond milk and Vagisil? Maybe she's also skeptical about the speed with which her underwear dishevels itself. That eighteen year old in the elevator you thought was checking you out? Nope. He was actually thinking about how much he missed home, too. (Your boobs being in his direct line of sight was mere coincidence.)

People are a lot more alike than most of us think. The stuff you're going through? Other people have dealt with it too. That violent thought you had about shoving that kid up against the wall and making them say ‘uncle?' YOU AREN'T ALONE. The time you almost electrocuted yourself while baking no-bake cookies? You might think no one does that. They do that. In fact, at least one person's burned an entire house down while making no-bake cookies. I'm certain of it.

Turns out, the phrase “we're all human” has never been more true. And even though there's a lot of stuff you can't (and shouldn't) say, there's also a lot of stuff that maybe you can. And maybe you should. Especially if you're writing for other humans. Because it's the discovery of shared experience that gets a reader high; it's being able to point at another person and say, “we're alike.” We want to feel like other people get us—including our deepest darkest thoughts—because we're social creatures. And social creatures don't want to be alone.

That's why blogging and social media work. Not because the world is so interested in the fact you cooked a chicken pot pie, but in seeing that you, too, cook chicken pot pies. It's in the details that we find the common thread. Whether you know the person on the other side of the screen or not, the important thing is that you feel a little bit less alone, in this big crazy abyss filled with tupee'd men running for president, white guys opening fire on black churches, black guys opening fire on white cops, little kids blowing up marathons, brown guys rooting them on, and Republicans running around in between yelling, “LET'S BUILD A BIGGER WALLLLLLLLL!”

The solution is not to build a bigger wall. The solution is figuring out how to build a society in which we don't need a bigger wall.

The only way we can ever start to understand each other is by SEEING one another. After all, it's not about whose chicken pot pie is better; it's about recognizing that we both love weird and disgusting meat-filled dinner foods. It's about our commonalities. Because our commonalities might just be the thing to save us.

And in that way, I think tools like blogging and social media have far more potential than we give them credit for. Not just for the next You Tube star to step into the spotlight, but for every single one of us, no matter who we are, to step into the conversation.

Conversations that no longer have to start by writing a letter to Congress, but by writing a 140 character tweet. By showing our human a little bit more, using tools that decidedly aren't.

By being brave enough to step up to the podium.

And by making somebody else, in even the slightest of ways, wish you out of their head. Even though, on the inside?

They're secretly glad you're there.

Dec 14

2012

Take Your Lazy Sentences And Piss Off. Politely.

Dec 14, 2012

Lazy sentences BOTHER ME. They bother me because it’s not really the sentence being lazy–it’s the person who wrote it. And if that person happens to be a business owner who’s trying to convince me to spend my hard-earned, sweat-soaked, time-drenched money with them? They better demonstrate that they actually WANT MY BUSINESS. Want it […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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Aug 4

2012

How to Make The World Give a Shit About You

Aug 4, 2012

::  When I first started having sex, I worried I wouldn’t be sexy enough–and that I’d be a sore disappointment. ::  When I worked in advertising sales, the first time I ever had to do a nation-wide cold-calling contest…I was so wracked with nerves, I sat at my desk shaking, sipping vodka from a thermos. […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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Jan 11

2013

How to Sell Anything In One Paragraph Or Less

Jan 11, 2013

What if I told you I could sell anything in one paragraph or less? (Stop glancing skeptically at the screen. I can see up your nose.) You know what kind of paragraph I’m talking about–the sorely neglected, overlooked and undervalued product description. *cue tambourine and this song* Product descriptions have the power to make or […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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Jul 15

2014

No, I Don’t Want to Be in Your Tribe.

Jul 15, 2014

“No, I don’t want to be in your tribe. I’m not your minion, and I’m not a cow.” -@ateegarden on Twitter. The internet popularized the concept of “finding your tribe,” and while Seth Godin’s book by the same name is right on the money, the term itself has become cliché, stale, trite, boiler plate, and fucking offensive. …As […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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May 17

2016

Poets & Killers Get Rich

May 17, 2016

There are two groups of people: Poets & killers. The poets are running around with their heart placed firmly on their sleeve, hoping that if they do authentic work, it’ll sell itself. The killers, on the other hand, are running around selling everything, none of which is actually authentic, nor genuine, nor useful. (We call […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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Jun 28

2016

How to Be Interesting As Hell On Paper

Jun 28, 2016

Agency. It was one of the first things my book editor said to me. “These parts need more agency.” And I obviously said: Like the CIA? And she said: Shoot me. And I said: Is that a CIA joke? So while furiously drinking wine and researching this new writing foe—agency—I had been delighted to discover […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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