Cash With More Ash

I’m the one on the left.

Hey, it’s Ash here. And that is me kissing a pony. If there is one thing to know about me, it is that I am passionate about horses. I don’t make a habit of kissing all of them though. (Only the ones who have at least bought me a drink first.) That one is Yahoo, and he’s a pint-sized pony.

As most of you would now know, I am now Cash and Joy’s assisterant/Co-captain.

Some of you I have had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ already, but if I have not, I would like to say hi.


(You have to visualize the enthusiastic hand waving. I’m wearing fingerless gloves if that helps.)

So, as a result of all these big changes there has been ample gumboot philosophizing and fist bumps and squishy sisterly hugs between the two of us, but what about you guys?! We want to share the joy of this new adventure with all of you too. Since sending a squishy hug through the computer isn’t all that effective, and would mean my face would get all smooshed into the monitor in a very uncomfortable (although probably hilarious) way, we decided there was probably a better way to go about this.

Enter the “Cash With More Ash” promotion.  (And yes this makes me feel very warm and fuzzy inside. Naaaww.)

For one week only, from Wednesday the 18th to Wednesday to 25th of July, anyone who buys a product/service from Cash and Joy gets a free copy of the upcoming resource, “Play All Day”.

So if you have been thinking about buying something from us, this would be a spectacular time to do it! Also, if you have not signed up to our new affiliate system (which now comes with super-adorable clown fish), now would be a good opportunity to do that and promote some of the nifty stuff we have to offer.

Admittedly, we chose the promo dates pretty randomly. But as it happens, the 25th is a terribly important day according to the indisputable wisdom of the almighty Wikipedia: it’s Matt LeBlanc’s birthday, and there’s the yearly Ebernoe Horn Fair in Sussex that’s all about cricket, adultery, and sheep. So… yeah.


So I’ll keep it short and sweet, and since this is my First Article Ever I’m not totally sure if I’m even doing it right, so don’t judge me too harshly!

Please feel free to say howdy in the comments. Otherwise, buy things!

(Tah-dah! That was my first ever call to action! How was it?)

photo by: AlicePopkorn

Glide like a swan, paddle like a motherfucker.

I love my work. But like all relationships, it has patches when I want to throw its stereo out the window and scream, “You ain’t no nice guy!”

Ya know?

Like a good Artist And Writer Who Is Clearly Still Self-Conscious Enough To Capitalise It When She Calls Herself That, Can’t You Just Hear The Airquotes, I’ve started a for-reals Creative Practice. (More capitals!)

My creative practice (yay) is:

  1. Get up and get fully dressed.
  2. Half a dozen sun salutations.
  3. Two minutes of breathing.
  4. Visualize what I’m gonna do today.
  5. Half an hour of morning pages.
  6. Breakfast, away from computer.
  7. One hour of writing.

And then my official day begins, with client calls and twitter and all the rest. I feel terribly grown-up just telling you this.

This morning ritual is in a state of constant tweaking as I balance structure with flexibility; I get wicked mulish when I feel I’m being forced, even by myself. But I think the overall structure is here to stay.

So anyway. My point was about me having relationship issues with my business.

And there’s been a trend running through those morning pages that is bugging the everliving shit out of me.

Here’s an expurgated version of my morning pages:

What do I want? Do I have to have a goal, or can I just have standards? Just keep showing up. Who am I when I am at my best? Insightful, high-spirited, creative, irreverent. What would I do if I didn’t do this? I’m running free, yeah. *guitar solo* Why do I feel sad? This is working! Create, connect, stretch, this is what I do. What do I want? Do you notice how much work you do? Drink the juice of this day. You might not need to create a skill for solitude. Be brave, be consistent. Resist the desire to be spectacular and solve it all with one shazam! Focus instead on showing up fully, whatever I am doing. Do not go on Twitter just to see what people are saying about me. Drink more water. Stop waiting to feel ready to act, and ACT. Do I want to be large? Is that my destination?

In short, I have Big Unanswered Questions.

Things like:

Which direction should the biz be growing in?
Why am I doing this, again?
How do I want my time to be spent?
Where am I going?

The longer I do this, the more I realise that this isn’t the kind of thing you solve once and then never have to address again. Nope, it’s a spiral.

Thus, it’s harder to thrash this stuff out once you’ve been in business for awhile. People expect you to know, and don’t automatically give you the same thrashing space they give a newbie. You have to be more like a swan, gliding elegantly over the water while your legs paddle like a motherfucker.

And that is fine, it’s one of the skills you learn – how to keep the business afloat while you retrofit it. (I’d love to do a course about that someday, if people are interested.)

I think the swan effect is actually more problematic for the people watching it than the person doing it.

If you haven’t been in business for a couple of years and you see that swan gliding by, it’s easy to think, “Aw man. I am clearly doing this wrong. Look at the fucking swan, he’s got it figured all out. I have no idea what I’m doing. I suck.”

Because most swans, for a number of selfless and self-serving reasons, don’t want to sidemouth, “Psst. Kid. Look under the water. I am paddling like crazy because I don’t know where I’m going right now. Take it easy.”

So I’m telling you: everyone does this. Everyone loses touch. Everyone is figuring out how to do this, as they do it.

I hope it reassures you as much as it did me, when I finally figured it out.

Hey, this is actually an article that went to Rise and Shine, my weekly-and-spectacular newsletter. This is the kind of thing you’re missing out on, if you aren’t signed up already!

photo by: O3D

The day you change.

It’s 1998.

My boyfriend and his mates are taking turns to play Diablo on his computer. I’m spectating. I point out where a magic ring has fallen, press the healing potion button while M. fights the Prime Evil.

I am cute, flirty, nice. I giggle. I have not yet figured out how to swear. I am Gamer Girlfriend. And I love it.

It’s 2000.

New city, new boyfriend, new computer. The air has more air in it. The light is almost solid. I’m dizzy and grounded and lost and happy.

Diablo II has just come out and been bought and installed on my new computer and I am having a shift in my head and so instead of sitting down in the observer seat I say, ”I want to play this game. And because it’s my computer, I want to go first.”

I am petrified: frozen solid by future incompetence, stepping out of my comfy rewarded place, potential rejection. Numbly, I create a character, the Amazon. I walk through the gates of the encampment and toward my first day as a hero.

There’s a walking dead, slowly ambling toward me. I move my mouse with a stabbing motion. Graceless and panicky, click! click! Zombie is dead. I am not.

Lightning bolt: I CAN DO THIS.

I panic at the first boss fight and get the men to do it for me. I am still remorselessly cute in ways that I do not understand are tactical. I’m 21, and I have so much learning to do. But I am not a Gamer Girlfriend any more. I am a Gamer.

It’s this morning.

The computer has been upgraded and replaced a half-dozen times. I kept the boyfriend, bought him his own computer. Our desks sit companionably side by side.

Diablo III was released three days ago. My character is a giant female barbarian, already level 15. Would be higher but for my regular World Of Warcraft raid on Wednesdays, and a long philosophical conversation about super-powers with The Dude last night.

I’d like to be playing right now, was tempted. It’s cold sniffly lonely weather and it would be so easy to plug in and switch off. To ignore my inbox and my to-do list, to swaddle and clickclickclick and eat chocolate sultanas.

But heroism becomes a habit. Too many comics and fantasy novels and far too many roleplaying games and mouse-clicks. Spend that much time pretending to be a hero and it tends to rub off on you.

So here I am.

Here I am. Entrepreneur, speed-metal Pollyanna. Cheerful cusser. Feminist. Cheerleader with an ambiguous relationship to bullshit. Science and spirit playing hopscotch together. Winter crocheter. Breadwinner. Bread baker. Scornful of gender roles.

My life has been defined and shaped by the day I said, ”I don’t want to watch you anymore. I want to play.”

I am a Geek. And it is magnificent.

And so are you.

Whatever you are doing, go forth and ROCK IT THE FUCK OUT.

If you want geek-tastic help, check out the Choose Your Own Business Adventure.

And fellow Diablo III players, my tag is TeamAwesome#1122. Come say hi to me and The Dude.

All my love,

This was originally sent to my weekly newsletter, Rise and Shine. If you’re not signed up, this is the kind of thing you’re missing out on.

Less bullshit, more comments.

I fell out of love with comments.

Once upon a time, oh about two-and-a-bit years ago, I cherished my post comments. I courted them, I made languorous invitation, I flattered and anointed and eulogised them.

I did this because my business was not yet a business. It was a shiny-new website that started with four subscribers (including me, and my friend Cass), one offering, and zero sales.

I did this because I needed some feedback to keep me going until I made some money.

I did this because I had no idea what the fuck I was doing and data was vital.

I did this because I was needy, and smart enough to know I was needy.

And it worked.

Until it didn’t.

I got bored with answering every comment when at least half would be the empty ”This was a great article, thanks” puffery that my ego had grown sturdy enough not to need any more.

I got exasperated at seeing people who read every article, left appreciative comments, but never actually implemented… anything.

I started to ruminate how much my comments really mattered, epecially now they were chock-full of polite flattery. Whether the conversation was just another distraction from the real work, for my readers and for me.

Oh, and I slid down into a major depression, too.

(These things are probably related.)

Now the comments on my articles are fallow, and shallow.

Instead of 20 comments per article, I get two. Conversations no longer flourish.

It’s a persistent itch. Wondering:

Should I shut the comment system down? Reinvest the time and attention to make it rock? Do it differently?

I don’t know. Let’s try an experiment.

The Grand Commenting Experiment

The purpose of the comments on this website

  • To build on and explore the idea of an article.
  • To make it less scary. (Or more scary!)
  • To explore possibility.
  • To find other amazingpants people.
  • To get clear on how to apply it to your particular situation.
  • To laugh.
  • To tell me I’m full of it, and why.
  • To transmute ideas into action.

My part

  • I solemnly swear that I am up to no good will respond to every (worthy) comment.
  • I will never reply with ”Thanks!” or ”Good point!”.
  • I will respond in a timely manner, although most certainly not the trigger-reflex way I did it back in the old days. But probably within… 24 hours? 48? Let’s say: as soon as I can do it well.
  • I will go back through the archives to catch up, too.
  • I will craft thoughtful, meaningful answers to drive the conversation – and transformation – onward.
  • I will write articles that invite conversation and exploration.
  • I will not pull my punches when asked for feedback.
  • I will not give feedback or advice unless I am asked.

Your part

  • You will only comment when you have something to say that is useful, or at least wildly entertaining.
  • You will not comment just to give me a compliment.
  • You will ask questions, offer your own related story, challenge my ideas, ask for feedback, or spot the Firefly/Terry Pratchett/Tank Girl reference.
  • You will not offer feedback or advice to any other commenter unless they ask for it. Encouragement and sympathy are always awesome.
  • You will not be a dickbag just to get attention, ’cos you’ll get deleted.
  • You will come back and tell me how you used something you read to make a change. (Oh please yes)
  • You will not whine if you write a comment that I do not reply to. Pretend to be me for a second and ask whether you could craft a reply that wasn’t ”Aww, thanks!”.
  • You will go forth and rock it the fuck out.

Let the experiment begin! Come start it by telling me what you think of it, in the comments.