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What to Do When Your Work No Longer Inspires You—And Everything Feels Like Ass-Flavored Drudgery

In: Hate Your Job?

CUE THE SCOTTISH CALVARY: I TURNED IN THE BOOK MANUSCRIPT TO PENGUIN ON FRIDAY! And then I proceeded to immediately shoved a pound of brownies in my face! Which I am celebrating! Because books and brownies! And, holy shit, I’m pretty sure March 1st, 2019 will forever be a personal holiday.

(To clarify, these were not illegal brownies. I don’t eat those. But my friend Chelsea is a pastry chef, and so I’m just going to leave that sentence right there and let you think about why YOU don’t have a friend who is a pastry chef.)

So, listen! I wanted to tell you something. I wanted to tell you my number. Not my phone number, nor the the number of human beings I have seduced, in my thirty-four decrepit years, but rather, the update on the number of hours it has taken me to write this particular manuscript from start to…well, this point. Because it’s not finished, yet. There are still multiple rounds of edits that happen at the hand of an editorial team, and then we’ve only just begun, because marketing comes next. And yes, make no mistake, I will be pulling out a bugle and calling you to arms. I have never been more invested in WOMEN + CONFIDENCE. It’s the crux of everything I do: it’s not about online business or entrepreneurship or creativity or money.

It’s about the anarchy in your ovaries.

I want to help every single woman who’s ever felt that twinge, get the confidence she needs to do the things she hopes. So much so, that I have dedicated a large portion of my regular business hours to writing something designed to show other women that they are possible. And just because I know you’ll be tickled, here’s an excerpt from an email I recently got from my editor:

So, it looks like title, “The Middle Finger Project” will be ride or die-ing right on up to a bookshelf at Barnes & Noble—and YOU WILL BE RIGHT THERE NEXT TO ME. Figuratively, of course, unless you come to a signing. In which case, you really will be right there next to me, and how effing cool is that? Will you sign my copy, please?

Anyway. So, my number. Are you ready for this wizardry? The number is:

1,455 hours and 48 minutes.

According to my time-tracking system, that's how long it took to write a full first draft of the manuscript from start to finish, including developing the concept, the proposal, the sample chapters, and the multiple and extensive rounds of edits I performed in conjunction with my literary agency before we even shopped it to publishers. It doesn’t include phone calls with agents or editors, though, because usually I wasn’t at my computer when I was doing those things. And it also doesn’t account for all the times I was drinking red wine and completely forgot to track. (In other words, OFTEN?)

The draft itself came in at 83,981 words, or 319 pages in Word.

Which means that every single one of those 319 pages represents approximately five hours of focused work. Five hours of my life per page. And man, did it feel GOOD. That’s what I want you to understand. That when you are doing the right work, IT WILL FEEL GOOD. Work should feel good! For far too long, we’ve been buying into the Protestant-inspired, ass-flavored work ethic of, “Work is suppose to be hard—that’s why they call it work.” I have a few things to say about that, many of which I wrote in the book, because I’m straight up sending that bullshit back to the kitchen. It’s an idea that was created a long time ago by the people in power to keep them in power—and keep you from asking too many questions. It’s a verbal iron collar. It’s a narrative designed to keep you small and obedient.

Pursuing work that gives you pleasure is one of the most rebellious things you can do. Something I know to be true: when you do things that give you joy, you will be a joyful person. When you do things that make you miserable, you will be a miserable person. And miserable people are the most easily controlled. They have lost their joie de vivre. They’ve lost confidence in the world. And they’ve lost confidence in themselves. And that certainly benefits the people who want you to keep your head down and do as you’re told. (That goes for husbands, too, ladies.)

So don’t be afraid of hard work. Be afraid of uninspiring work. Don’t be afraid to spend 1,455 hours on something if it makes you excited: be afraid to spend 1,455 hours on something that doesn’t.

There is so much power in joy.

Apr 28


Make Something That Matters

Apr 28, 2017

Things aren’t always what they seem. An email list full of 100,000 people is meaningless if only 100 of those people open the emails. Similarly, an email list of 100 people, with 100 of those people opening them, does mean something. Who is more successful? And who is doing something that actually matters?

In: Hate Your Job?


Oct 17


We Need You to Give Yourself the Job

Oct 17, 2018

Today I will drive twenty six miles on backroads, through crisp autumn air, past dairy farms and old Citgo stations, and up a giant hill to my alma mater, Blue Ridge High School, here in rural Pennsylvania. I’m speaking to a group of seniors. Hijacking their last class of the day as I hoist myself […]

In: Hate Your Job?


Aug 6


“I Don’t Know What I Want to Dooooo, And I’m Kinda Confused, and I’m Feeling Like a Flakey Little Fruitcake, Ash!”

Aug 6, 2019

WITTY BANTER. Biggest turn-on ever. (Because we’re just opening with that, okay?) Like, I don’t even care if you’re wearing coveralls and haven’t shaved in forty-nine years: if you’re witty, I’m going to want to jump your bones. Which I won’t do, ahem, given that I’m in a relationship and all, but this is a hypothetical […]

In: Hate Your Job?


Dec 1


“I Want to Do Something Else…But What?” Welcome To The Fucking Question That Everyone Is Asking Themselves.

Dec 1, 2017

I have a dirty little hypothesis. It’s about the discontent. The unrest. This global epidemic that’s happening behind closed doors of women wanting something else. It’s why the LuLaRoe, the Advocare, the Younique. It’s why books like Eat, Pray, Love became bestsellers. It’s why we’re spending so much time on the Internet, too, and drinking […]

In: Hate Your Job?


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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