Interviews / Writers

Balancing the Grind with Clover Hope, Writer, Author, Editor & Documentarian

Clover Hope is a writer, editor, documentarian and the author of The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role? 

Foundationally, I’m a writer. I’m also an author, editor, and documentarian. I’ve been telling stories — specifically around music and hip-hop — for over 16 years on various platforms: print, digital, streaming, television, etc.

In the past, I was a full-time writer and editor at Billboard, Vibe, XXL, and Jezebel. I’m now an independent writer with a contributing editor role at Pitchfork. Some people might also know me as a co-writer on Black is King.

This year, I published my first book, The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop, which is a big story (featuring many stories) about hip-hop told by women.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Besides writing assignments here and there, I have a number of non-media projects in development. That means lots of meetings and brainstorming sessions with myself. Usually, I start the day at home.

On days when I have back-to-back Zoom calls, I work from my apartment. On other days when I have more flexibility, I go to a cafe nearby (I’m based in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn) and have coffee or tea (black or green tea), then maybe come back home for lunch, and finish the day there.

On days where I have minimal work, I might use those to run errands or catch up on writing assignments or TV because I shamelessly love television. Right now, it’s shows like The Real Housewives of Potomac, The Challenge, Raising Kanan, Married at First Sight, etc. I also have to finish watching Fast 9.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?  

Yes, thankfully. The pandemic changed the way everyone works for better and worse. It’s definitely changed the way I approach work as someone who was accustomed to commuting into an office.

I left my job as culture editor at Jezebel in October 2020 after about six years. I was fortunately already used to remote writing — we worked from home a lot.

But this year is my first time being a full-time freelancer, so I’ve had to adjust my schedule and embrace the power of discipline. Some days, I get more done when I’m working somewhere else rather than inside my apartment.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal? 

It means having boundaries and sticking to them. I haven’t been great at that. My curse is that I tend to have sparks of creativity and write best between midnight and 3 a.m. I’m just not a morning writer. I tried. I’ve had to accept that and choose to not write during the day. Not great for sleep!

But it’s what works for me, particularly when I have long-form assignments. Nowadays, I give myself more grace and try to chill during the day if I don’t have much writing inspiration. I’m also a heavy procrastinator, but that’s just a synonym for “writer.”

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I was never a big coffee drinker, but now I’m okay shooting it into my veins. I’ve been stupidly surprised by how much of a brain boost it gives me. Caffeine is nice. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend? 

I love Zeba Blay’s Carefree Black Girl newsletter and Hunter Harris’ Hung Up for my celebrity fix. Darian Symone has a wonderful beauty newsletter. I also indulge in The Read and the Who? Weekly podcasts.

I love the stories and music talk I get from Danyel Smith’s Black Girl Songbook and No Skips by Shea Serrano and Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins. I listen to an insane number of podcasts because I like hearing people’s voices around me at all times.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Evernote and Scrivener for organizing my thoughts, ideas, and writing. The Reminders app for keeping track of when to water my plants.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Issa Rae.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Please share any tips you have with me because I can use them. Also, enjoy life.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.