Written by: Erin Blakemore
It’s true…I’m an ex roller derby queen. And though I hung up my skates a few years ago after a nasty knee injury, my time in the sport taught me PLENTY about balancing work and writing:
Do It Yourself: Modern-day roller derby is all about a kick-ass, DIY effort, and so is balancing business ownership and writing. In my skating days, nobody but me could put in the hours of training I needed to win on the track…and I was expected to lay track, solicit sponsors, and promote bouts, too. Similarly, no matter how insane the rigors of owning a business, I have to rely on myself to make time for writing. When I was writing The Heroine’s Bookshelf, I did so by doing VOCO stuff from 9 to 5, eating/working out until 7 or so, then writing from 8 to midnight. The book got done in chunks and crumbles, but it got done.
Work Hard, Play Hard: In my world, my business is my work and writing books is my play. I try to take a cue from my derby sisters and write as hard as I work, giving a full effort when I’m able to make the time to do so. And a bit of real play (aka a day off) never hurt anyone.
Bruises? Brush ‘Em Off: Think roller derby practices get called off when skaters have ugly bruises or sore limbs? Think again. The discipline to write even when I’m tired or battered helps me balance my business persona with my bookish one.
Be Fearless: It takes serious guts to jump over a limbo stick or fling your body into another person while skating 20 miles per hour. If you play roller derby, you do these things as a matter of course. Similarly, writing while running a business is no small thing. I try to see fear as a sign that something’s worth it, even when my fearlessness is a big show.
Skate It Off: There’s nothing like a few hours of skating to heal a broken heart, soothe a bad mood, or just plain rev you up. Writing is similar – it feeds me through bad days, client weirdness, and economic ups and downs.
Lean Into The Team: Derby is a team sport, and so is writing, though it’s often billed as the loneliest profession. As I balance work and writing, I lean into my relationships with other working writers, both in person and online. These relationships, along my friends and my fabulous business partner, keep me sane when the chaos threatens to overwhelm me.
How about you? How do you balance work and writing?
Erin Blakemore is a writer from Boulder, Colorado. Her first book, The Heroine’s Bookshelf, will be published by Harper in October. Erin co-owns and operates VOCO Creative, a marketing, social media, and brand strategy firm.