‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
In today’s mailbag, Dom Phillips asks:
How do you output so many articles in such a short space of time? You are esports' machine with the amount of quality stuff you churn out.
— Dom Phillips (@DomPhillipsCSGO) November 12, 2018
Thanks for the compliment. I don’t know how I compare to other esports writers or sports writers in general as I’ve always considered the measure of my success can only be measured against myself as those are the only circumstances in which the entire field and context is even.
So I can’t say what differentiates me between anyone else, but I can describe my process in regards to your question. In terms of output I generally do three feature articles and around 12+ blogs a week. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only person who writes that much so if you know anyone please let me know as I’d like to ask them how they do it. As for myself, I’m constantly trying to find things that I find interesting myself and then I split up those ideas into a topic that I think needs a feature article or just a fast blog (though sometimes these do vary in length).
As for the rest, we can split it into the mental attitude it takes and the process. Mentally speaking, I think you have to be unafraid of failure. I’m writing narratives, opinions, and analytical pieces, at breakneck pace most of the time. If you’re afraid of failure, you won’t improve. If you’re afraid of failure, then you won’t put yourself out there. With the pieces I do, I try to give my thoughts as honestly as I can and with as much explanation as I can. I see people fail sometimes or get misunderstood in their articles and so they get bogged down trying to explain themselves further or trying to defend themselves. If someone wants to do what I do, then the best advice I have is to ignore it. Perhaps you can learn something from the discussion, perhaps you can’t. But for me, that is 20-30 minutes lost per argument and potentially hours lost if I get into some mental funk over it. Perhaps it’s different for other people, but for my case I don’t have the time to argue with people or feel sorry for myself. That’s time wasted when I could be writing, learning about the game, watching the game, or learning something else that can improve my understanding of competition.
The other point I often bring up is that you have to be your own audience. I don’t know how to write a piece that will 100% guarantee me a huge hit with hundreds of thousands of views every single time. On the other hand, I can tell if an article or blog has some level of relevance to me and my interests. In the same token, I don’t ever think about writing as a competition with other writers or journalists. I think of it as a competition with myself. Did I beat the person that I was yesterday or not? If I fail, I try again. If I succeed, I just set a new benchmark for myself that I have to try to beat tomorrow.
As for the process, I don’t allow myself to waste time. If I’m waiting in line or eating, I always start thinking and reviewing all of the concepts, players, teams, and esports in my head. I start drafting ideas, lines, trains of thought so that by the time I’m sitting at the computer, I have a rough idea of either what I want to do or at least of the ideas that currently aren’t getting anywhere.
Finally, I think the reason I don’t run out of ideas is because of my philosophical approach to esports. I’m someone who believes that esports is fundamentally an art. In a set parameter of rules, each individual or team must create a path to objective victory. Unlike regular art, judgement is not subjective, there are set win conditions in every match and those who meet those win conditions are awarded victory. When you have millions of players across different games going at it, what inevitably happens is that the player who puts the most soul into their games usually ends up winning.
So for me, the primary source will always be the games. I’m someone who watches and rewatches games across esports. So I’ve come up with my own modes of thinking and models to think about and analyze games. I won’t go into all of the gory details as I did do a video with Max_melit about some of the analytical systems I use to break down a game or think about a player/team’s story arch.
Instead I’ll just do a broad stroke of what I do across all esports games. Assuming I have no experience, I’ll start watching a mass amount of games, play enough to understand the basics of the game, and then start thinking about the game through my own methods and through the logos of other people or systems. I take in media from all forms whether that be an esports podcast, comic, tv shows, movie, philosophical systems, myths, sports, documentaries, whatever it happens to be.
I try to understand these ideas as deeply as I can as they are essentially all tools to try to analyze and articulate the human condition or competition. So each time I take another pass at a new game, player, or team, I might come up with a different angle or different view of how to look at them and how to think about them. This in turn lets me write something different about them.
So if it is the case that I do a lot of quality work in a short period of time, that’s how I do it.