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  • Organization and cultivating growth in your work with PLOTTER – Miranda Sanchez [Interview No.005]

Organization and cultivating growth in your work with PLOTTER – Miranda Sanchez [Interview No.005]

PLOTTERs are active in a variety of worlds, and their energy is full of creativity. PLOTTER Magazine highlights change-makers who trace their steps from the past to the present and lead the future in a positive direction. Through their ideas and values, we hope that the stories of PLOTTER, like the tools we create, will inspire you for your creativity.

We interviewed Miranda Sanchez who is the Executive Editor of Guides at IGN.com, a game entertainment media company. She leads a team of writers who create guides for video games in the industry, providing end-users a way to navigate and enjoy playing games more. She is both a writer and a project manager, juggling multiple projects, managing her team, and recruiting freelancers to keep up with the constant release of new games.

Miranda uses the PLOTTER to manage separate projects that span different timelines. It is also where she can take notes and plan content for various gaming features. In this interview, we explore Miranda’s journey of utilizing analog to further her career in the gaming and entertainment media industry.

Can you describe your role as the executive editor of guides and what it’s like?

My job is a lot of project management and getting into the details of things. It’s perfect for me because I love spreadsheets, organization, and having things laid out as perfectly as you can get it. PLOTTER worked with how I approached projects. We have long-term guide projects that start with long features such as Animal Crossing, which involve months of investigation and research. We also write reviews that have a shorter turnaround deadline.

When I first started in this industry, I was just a writer. As I move up in rank this position in my career, I have analog to thank for helping me get here. With big projects, there are often little things that can easily fall through the cracks. Spreadsheets are great, but sometimes you just must write things down and check them off.

What is the process of writing about video games?

It depends on the project. A review is very straightforward—I’ve got to give my criticism of this game or movie, whatever it may be. I’ll write outlines of the main bullet points and start from there. If it is a 100-hour game, on the other hand, I’ll need to keep a lot of notes. While I’m test-playing the game, I always have a notebook open next to me to write down what comes to mind. There are many aspects to a thorough guide: walkthroughs, tips, and secret moves. There are a lot of different pieces that go into a guide, and I think ideation and prioritization are very important.

How has PLOTTER helped you with project management and productivity?

What excites me about PLOTTER is its versatility and I can experiment with different setups. I used to keep separate notebooks for meeting notes, daily planners for to-do lists, and more notebooks for guide planning. However, PLOTTER had helped me consolidate everything in one system. It is also very helpful for me to keep track of year-long things.

I have the PLOTTER in Bible Size in Liscio Wine. One of the things I do is to manage my team’s yearly progress. PLOTTER is super helpful in letting me keep my notes about their performance consistently in the system throughout a long period, without needing to refer to multiple notebooks if I had kept those notes separately. Analog is very important to me, and I’ve been relying on it for many years in my planning. Since I also travel a lot for work, I want to make sure that I have a system that I can take with me anywhere.

Can you share how you use PLOTTER for work?

Although I work in the entertainment industry, I think PLOTTER has an air of professionalism that I can take to meetings. It is so stylish yet can be very playful on the inside. My setup includes a monthly spread at the beginning where I can reference my schedule and meeting notes. I love the small grids because my handwriting is small too (laughs). Then it’s broken into different Project Managers based on projects I’m working on. I use the To-Do List refills to manage tasks for different projects at the same time—they each have their own page. I also love using the Refill Memo Pads. Even while working at home, I would sometimes take the notebook-like refill to the couch as I work with the big TV screen. After taking notes, I will just take out the pages I need to add to my PLOTTER.

What other accessories do you enjoy with your PLOTTER?

I also enjoy using the A5 Whiteboard refill as a portable whiteboard for mapping out what a guide would look like. The content can be dense, and we would need to organize it so it makes the most sense. The whiteboard helps reduce waste, especially at the very beginning when I’m just figuring out the structure and how to organize topics.

You’ll also notice that my pages are mostly decorated. I love putting down stickers and opening up to a page and enjoying it. My job is quite stressful but it’s fun to have something cute and exciting on my page rather than just black and white text.

How did you come to the gaming and entertainment industry?

I wanted to write about video games when I was in fifth grade, and I’ve been working towards it ever since. Throughout school, I tried opportunities to learn about writing and improve my craft. I joined the yearbook team and newspaper clubs. In college, I majored in online journalism and minored in Japanese because of the prominence of gaming in Japan. I started freelancing when I was still in school at IGN and other media outlets. I started a blog, podcast, and a lot of projects to prove that I am serious about this industry.

My first job out of college was half-guides, half-editorial. I could write guides, but I also must work on news and interview features. Throughout the seven years at this company, I worked from associate to editor, senior editor, and eventually executive editor of guides. To get to where I am today, I had to work hard on many initiatives that are expected of me, and projects that are my own. I did a lot of extra things to prove that I can be a good manager and can grow projects from scratch. To manage so many projects at the same time, analog had been essential to me. Having organization and being on top of things made me more prepared for the managerial role I have now.

What is exciting about this space and what do you hope to bring to it with your work?

The industry is always looking for individuals who are striving to bring something different. Aside from working on guides, I’m also part of the podcast about Xbox at IGN called “Unlocked”. It was initially intimidating because you’ll see predominantly men who talk on camera about video games. Of course, there are sometimes people who may not be so welcoming of my voice and point of view. However, I’m going to stay and persist because I’m an expert on the topic, regardless of whether some people like it.

Representation and diversity are very important to me in this industry. The entertainment industry has been predominantly male, and so I want to help foster a place where I can invite all kinds of people with different perspectives. Whether they are writers or content creators in the space, I would like it to be a place that is accepting, supportive, and educational at the same time. I think that’s something the game media was missing for a while but has gotten better recently. It’s a constant thing we have to work towards, and I’m proud to be able to quietly do that alongside my manager, who is also very big on making sure that we have opportunities for people of all kinds of identities.

What kind of person do you think PLOTTER is for?

I think it’s for professionals who would like to be organized and feel creative at the same time. The image evokes a sense of professionalism to me more so than other systems, but you can be however you want inside. Mostly, it is for people who value the benefits of being organized.

[ Miranda Sanchez, Executive Editor ]

Miranda Sanchez currently works as the Executive Editor of Guides for IGN.com, a game and media company in San Francisco. During the day, she crunches numbers, writes guides, and manages a large team of writers to meet the fast pace of the gaming media industry. In her spare time, she plays a lot of video games, writes for fun, and enjoys all kinds of stationery. She also takes care of two very demanding cats and multiple plant babies. You can find Miranda Sanchez on Instagram as @havokrose.