2014 was a tumultuous year for me, with some of my lowest lows and most stressful workloads, but also my greatest achievements. Going into 2015, the most important lesson I can learn is not to put too much on my plate, and to choose a handful things to excel at, rather than try and do everything.
I started the year at a point of frustration: my writing at Reign of Gaming had stagnated, my personal relationships were struggling from my obsessive workload, and my ranked 5s team (Funk Overload) had just fallen apart after having beaten challenger teams – including the now LCS team Curse Academy. At the beginning of the year, I refocused my work from theorycrafting to esports analysis, and quickly found myself working for the Riot-owned lolesports. While I started off doing team profiles and recaps, I quickly leveraged my in-game skills to write a series of articles on the nature of various champions in competitive play. This started with posts on Morgana support and the bruiser meta of top lane. However, as my writing acumen increased, I was entrusted with a brief series of speculative articles called “Breaking the Meta”, in which I covered off-meta picks ranging from the reasonable (Jarvan Top) to the outrageous (Sejuani Mid). I ended the year combining the two with a speculative article about the competitive power of Rek’Sai.
In the world of League of Legends, I developed my jungling skills as one of the most unique junglers in the North American amateur scene, specializing in the completely unplayed Skarner and Hecarim, and yet peaking in mid-D1. Funk Overload reformed and managed to take ladder and tournament matches off of challenger teams despite heavy bans to my unusual champion pool, and the experience taught me even more about competitive jungling. As a result of my experience both in game and as an analyst, teams in the EU and NA scenes offered me a coaching spots on their teams.
I struggled with my imminent departure from Portland, and after a number of severe miscommunications in my personal life, dove fully into work. I entered one of my most productive periods, publishing 21 articles in a 3-month period. My productivity and quality did not go unnoticed, and in July, I accepted a position with Riot as the Live Web Content Coordinator, a position which put me at the center of communications among the esports departments, working with Web Content and Tournament Operations alike. As Worlds came around, I found myself responsible for the majority of live operations on lolesports. However, these responsibilities ate at my ability to produce content, and by the end of Worlds, I had burned out.
As a result, I bused to Portland for a vacation. However, my time off was short-lived, as I was still responsible for lolesports’ hosting of the ESL run Expansion and IEM tournaments. I arrived in Portland during a period of social unrest, and soon found myself at the forefront of Portland protests in ways both supportive and critical. I’d found myself wordless at the death of Trayvon Martin, and with each new reported death of an unarmed black man, my frustration grew. As the Ferguson decision came down, I was on a bus. I could have chosen to stay on the bus, but instead, I got off and joined the protest, a road I’m glad to have gone down.
All of these things contributed to where I am, but they have taught me one crucial truth. I can’t do everything. As such, my New Year’s Resolutions are about focusing on my passions, while eliminating the chaff. As a recent grad, it has been all too easy for me to fall into the (lazy) mindset that I’ll just do the best work possible, and people will recognize it. I want to spend 2015 (and every following year) completing fewer projects, but doing more work to promote them, to supervisors, magazines, and readers.
#1 – Increase Project Depth at Riot
What this means at Riot is simple: pitch projects more selectively, but put more individual attention into talking with my supervisors and peers about how to make those projects palatable. By doing so, I can make sure that more of my pitched projects are deemed valuable and produced to completion. Ultimately, I would like to have two running series that I publish monthly and one that I publish biweekly.
#2 – External Publication
Ferguson has turned me back onto addressing societal struggles after a several year hiatus, and my personal blog has started to see better traffic. However, I should also be seeking external publication. I want to submit monthly pitches to several online publications, not limited to but including The Huffington Post, The Slate, The Root, and The Good Men Project, all websites I read a lot from.
#3 – Return to Fiction
1000 Words a day while I’m working is simply too much. However, 10k words per month – a short story, a memoir, or a chapter of a novel – should not be hard to manage.
#4 – Listen Better
The above three points are all about getting my voice more recognized. However, I want to improve upon my listening skills. I’m not sure about a precise way to do this, but when I see work I appreciate, I want to do better about promoting it. In the case of new writers, I would like to host or promote their work, so that they have the chances I do. The easiest way for me to do this is through FantasyRift, where I will be working primarily as a Content Coordinator and Editor, rather than a Content Creator.
#5 – Expect Communication
I am a voracious communicator. However, I need to be better about expecting and demanding communication and investment from those close around me. When people do not return communication or investment, I need to learn to de-escalate, rather than trying to solve the problem by increasing my own investment and effort. People who do not function at my level of communication are not good for me, and I should stop forcing myself to soldier on in situations I know I am unhappy in.
#6 – Sleep More
Bed by 1 AM unless I’m working on a project that is due the next morning. I lose more in productivity over the next few days than I gain from pushing myself.
#7 – Stop Living in the Past
There’s nothing I can do to change it or bring it back.