Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reflections on 10 years writing online ....

Two weeks ago, an anniversary passed that I totally forgot about. On September 14th, 2016, I passed my 10th year of writing online. I'm absolutely flabbergasted I've gone on this long. But I can't imagine life any other way.

Writing online has become a big part of my life over the last 10 years. It started as a fun hobby, now it is an addiction. It is my creative outlet. I would rather write online than read someone else's article or watch someone else's show. This is my diary, my journal, and the story of my life.

When I started writing online in 2006, I had no idea what I was doing. That was evident in my first post.
Day One: Growin’ All Up in the Ghetto - September 14, 2006

Ok, let’s see how far I can go with this blog thing before “The Man” shuts me down. Just kidding. Well I guess this is going to be a place for me to post my thoughts, musings, and random ideas. So sit back, enjoy, and comment as you see fit.

A bit about lil’ ol’ me: I graduated from Florida State; had my own random column for that fine literary publication, the FSView and Florida Flambeau; and I am currently living outside of Tampa, FL. These experiences, as well as a childhood spent locked in a basement, will mold a lot of what I talk about. And of course, random references to current events, music, books, television, movies, or sports (especially the NY Mets, Knicks, and FSU Seminoles). But you get the point. Enjoy.

Fortunately, The Man has yet to shut me down. And I still don't know what I am doing. And this website is still where I post my thoughts, musings, and random ideas.

Those who have been with me for a while know this isn't my first site. My first blog, TheSeriousTip.com , slowly developed from a random musings site into somewhat of a sports blog. Sometimes my perspective on sports was rather unique and a few visitors found my site. Getting linked to bigger sites and increased readership was nice and gave me great sports writing connections that turned into friends. Folks such as Jay Busbee and Michael Tillery and others whom I am still in touch with today.

Eventually I wanted somewhere to write about my life experiences. I wanted to be more creative. I wanted to write about social issues. I wanted to dabble in comedy. I also wanted to create a website with my own URL. Hence, in late 2009, I ditched the sports blog concept and MichaelLortz.com was born.

In 2012, this blog became where I chronicled my Afghanistan adventure. I made sure to post at various milestones in my 14 months overseas to let readers know what I was experiencing. It was also a way for me to get my thoughts down. A lot happened in my time there and looking back, I am glad I have blog posts that detail what I did. In a way, they are similar to the old "letters from the front" that soldiers sent to their loved ones in previous conflicts.

In the years since my return, this website has developed from a blog to a professional home for who I am. I am much more comfortable with my online presence. This website now features a portfolio page, a resume page, a page for my comedy ventures, and pages for my other projects. It is a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to know about me. People ask if I am ever worried what employers think about my online presence. My answer is that the genie is so far out of the bottle, what I have created is who I am.

Although the website has developed, I still write on the blog page of MichaelLortz.com. It is still very important to me to write a few times a month. I try for at least 3-5 posts a month. Sometimes the posts are filler, sometimes they are insight into my life.

Unfortunately in the last two years this blog has dropped in priority. I started my second Master's degree which has taken up many hours and I also created my own baseball business website. Whereas I would write about baseball here on occasion, now TampaBayBaseballMarket.com receives all the focus of my sports writing.

Currently, this site is a mix of personal introspection, analysis on current issues, and the standard random musings. I write about war and conflict, music and comedy, and my long struggle with unemployment.

Looking back, I like to think have become a better writer because of my blogging. I definitely have more confidence in my writing. I still haven't done all I want to do in writing, however. I still want to publish a novel. I'd like to have a few more articles on prominent websites. I'd like to write the biography of Tampa's first hip-hop DJ.

I am still a writer. I've been doing this for over 10 years. It's no longer a hobby. It's now in my blood.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Guest posting on Ben's Biz

I've been an e-migo and reader of Ben Hill of Minor League Baseball.com for several years. Ben has been writing for Minor League Baseball covering promotions for a long time. It's been his niche for at least five years. He is a regular on the Minor League circuit, traveling from ballpark to ballpark, meeting and writing about the kooky craziness that is the Minor Leagues.

Seems like forever ago my colleagues at Bus Leagues Baseball.com interviewed Ben. Although Bus Leagues Baseball closed years ago and most of the writers moved on, I stayed in touch with folks with our subjects. One of the reasons I like to stay in touch is to pitch writing ideas if the urge catches me. This way, even though I don't cover the subject regularly, I can still write a piece on something I am concerned about.

Sadly, the most recent subject I was concerned about was the end of the Brevard County Manatees. I've written about the Manatees a lot on this and other blogs. They were the local Minor League team in the town in which I spent most of my teen years.

Starting in 2017, however, they are moving to Kissimmee, Florida to become the Central Florida Somethings. It doesn't matter to me what they become, I won't be going. To me they will always be the team I saw for 23 seasons. The team I saw with my dad, with friends (to include a highly impromptu bachelor party), with my brother, and with my nephew.

They are the team Ben Hill let me write about one last time in a post entitled "Farewell to the Sea Cows".

If you are a fan of Minor League Baseball, I recommend you check it out.

Long live the Fighting Sea Cows.