From 1-1,000, the MLBlogs Journey Has Been Superb
Those 5 numerals just seem so daunting and huge finally up there in print for me to gaze upon. Never in my wildest daydreams or nightmares did I ever think I would be celebrating a number like this online, much less writing about the sport that takes my breath away even today. So I hope you do not mind today, but I am going to get caught up in the flow and totally just bask in a unfathomed achievement to me.
Here I am posting my 1,000th baseball blog post today here upon MLBlogs.com. I know it is a bit anti-climatic, but it really does seem like yesterday that I popped up my first post. I was a bit apprehensive back on September 7, 2007 when I decided to submit my first blog.
I had been out of the journalism game since my early twenties, but I missed it every day. I started this blog as a daily distraction while trying to find a second career after leaving the ” job of my lifetime”. I prodded and poked and edited that first post like a painter meticulously fiddles with his artwork. It was not a great piece, but it was mine…all mine.
My then fiancée had read some of my short story material I had posted to an old Myspace account and had somehow convinced me to again plant the sportswriter seed that had flourished when I was a Sports Correspondent for a local newspaper. I knew that day when I had to walk away from that green IBM display screen and leave my expanding sports clip file behind it was a huge career mistake.
Now was my chance to see if the talent was real. If I could find the passion again to resurrect the glimmer of that career I left slip away so long ago. Baseball had always consumed my life from mid-February to late October, but the floodgates were thrown wide open as my mind expanded around the concept of the entire spectrum of MLB, not just my hometown Tampa Bay Rays.
Along this journey I have often revised, re-set or even tried to re-energized my blog from its first reincarnation to a more fan-based perspective with a slice or two of inside information and photos that you will see nowhere else. With it I also rediscovered a lost passion for photography.
All you have to do is click on my dirt post, “D No Longer Stands For Devil Rays” to see that my first MLBlogs.com post corresponds pretty close chronologically with the time period that the Rays changed their MLB identity with an explosion of new uniforms, team colors and a complete logo redesign. It was a total coincidence that both the Rays and myself were re-defining our mojo at the same time.
Since that first day back in 2007, I have seen almost a half a million web page hits,( currently at 488,250 ) plus over 6,152 comments. The consistent feedback and comments made by the MLBlogs.com community, and the Internet have inspired changes and a wider spectrum of subject matter over the years. Who remembers the 3-post blog expose` on Maple Bats?
My 1,000th blog post is not the only thing I am celebrating today. recently I received an e-mail from Mark Newman, who is our “professor” here at MLBlogs.com informing me that I hit the top spot of the blogging site’s Fan segment. I am thrilled to reach the top spot, and I know so many of you will also have the experience of claiming this same spot at some point in your blog’s existence.
So on this day of (now) multiple celebrations, I have decided to give back to some within MLBlogs.com. I am going to throw a few pearls of wisdom I collected over the past few years that I hope will help more of our aspiring writers to achieve greater results, and increased page views. I hope MLB doesn’t put out a “hit” on me for giving up some secrets.
More than a few people have asked me how I achieve my high rankings every month, or if there is a trick to it all. The honest answer is: I am just another in a long line of writers on MLBlogs.com. There are so many different points-of-view, a varied wide range of opinions and even blog styles on MLBlogs.com. But that is also one of the keys to getting noticed in a sea of blogs.
Use Your Imagination….Be Creative
I think the first suggestion is to be creative in your writing and your overall thinking as you comment and explore the MLBlogosphere. With that in mind, your name is the first indication to people of who you are. I decided on Rays Renegade because I have always been the guy in life who bucks some of the antiquated traditions and questions things.
Explore Your Surroundings
One of the most important things to do is to get yourself known by your MLB blog name by your peers both on MLBlogs and beyond. The “Recent Activity” box on the MLBlogs.com homepage is a great tool that can be an instrumental ally in getting your blog both noticed and for you to interact with other writers.
The “Recent Activity” box actually serves a duo purpose for me. First, I get chance to see who is writing or commenting, plus I can get a chance to read their latest post just by clicking on their name.
The simple action of networking, getting to know your fellow MLBloggers on a consistent level should help create a bond that will have them hopefully following your writing. This familiarity or bond should breeds an increase in your exposure on MLBlogs.com, which in turn should dramatically increases your page views.
Know Your Fellow Bloggers
I made a resolution in late January to visit each and every blog listed in the Top 50 Fan blogs in the “Latest Leader List” during that calendar month. I am currently past the number 35 spot and working my way down to number 50. I do not have to do this, but it is a personal commitment I made to get to know some of the budding writers on this site. I actually seek out those new blogs and try and see the new talent that is on the horizon and show them people read their posts. I enjoy reading the new blogs and posting a comment.
No matter who you are, there is an internal ego that wants people to give you feedback on your writing. By getting yourself out there exploring other blogs, you get new post ideas, refresh your own streams of imagination plus provide feedback to your peers who want to produce a well received blog post.
Encourage. not Deflate
There have been more than a few young blogger’s who because of school or other activities felt they were neglected their writing duties and wanted to cease posting. This is a site for all of us to express, project and explore the great far reaching corners of fandom that surround the great game of baseball. If you are writing to gain some acceptance, or win some monthly popularity contest, you better transfer your work elsewhere.
Writing should be about the passion. That passion doesn’t stamp a time clock or has a definite schedule. Life happens, and if you are young, that outside MLBlogs life take priority. Write when the spirit moves you. Write when you have a great event to tell us. Write because you want to, not because you have posted only once this week.
I write for the pure joy of writing. If that passion ever falters, I may fade to black and write a “-30-” on my last post. Journalism students know that simple writing symbol represents “the end” to your story.
Positive Ions Rule the World
Another thing I find tremendously helpful is staying positive. I am a glass half full kind of guy. Sure I have written a few negative or even disparaging posts in my time, but I keep my head in the positive cloud. I leave the insults and injury mentality to others. If I wanted negativity, I would write a police blotter.
Everyone can write. It just takes a passion. a commitment and even a little luck to stay with it long enough for people to look forward or seek out your posts. Do your writing at your own pace. You do not have to write every day like I do during the season, or 3-4 times a week in the off season. Stay within your guidelines of time management that enables you to write something consistent and great.
Your writing should flow out of you like a fine Dr Pepper into a glass of ice. Most of all, have fun. We all have the joy of baseball within us or we would not be writing here. Keep that joy close and within your grasp and everything you write will shine from a focused light.
I am so proud to write on this site. I have turned down offers of writing elsewhere and even dissolved my own website to write exclusively here. I could entertain and possibly get some financial rewards from other websites, but I enjoy the MLBlogs.com community and want to see it grow even larger in the near future.
The MLBlogs.com site has let me rediscover a love I pushed away years ago. It has granted me the chance to again write about something I am soooo passionate about. But most of all, it has let me get to know each and every one of you in some way through your comments or posts. I can not put a price tag on that….ever.