That's basically the answer to the title of this blog post which I have been asked a lot recently.
It's funny because people have all sorts of hobbies don't they? Running, knitting, baking, making things out of twigs (yes that's an actual thing and pretty blooming impressive actually) but blogging as a hobby? Well that raises a few eyebrows. It gets you gossiped about at coffee mornings, have people wonder why on earth anyone would be interested in what you have to say and makes your Mum mutter a lot about airing your dirty laundry in public, Unless she appears in the blog of course (and comes across well in it) then it's fine. She was not impressed with her portrayal in the Zombie Apocalypse blog, sorry Mum.
I started my blog 10 months ago, in my first post I explained why I started it. It's here for those of you who have only recently stumbled across mrsrachelokelly. God I really wish I'd picked a better blogging name.
However if starting my blog was just to gain some confidence with writing for an audience, or some validation that I wasn't completely rubbish. well then to be honest I achieved that a few month ago. To be clear I'm in no way saying I'm capable of writing War and Peace or perhaps anything worthy of being in print, what I mean is thanks my blog I have met/done some really interesting things, things completely out of my comfort zone, and I needed that.
For instance I was asked to Interview the Lord Mayor of Chester and you know what? I didn't mess it up.I am appearing on the radio in a couple of weeks time, I'm terrified, I am told I sound like a rather well spoken hamster and 12 month ago I'd have run for the hills, but now? Now I'm excited.
I featured as Mumsnets blog of the day, I received a letter from a publishing company who OK basically said "Thanks but no thanks" but they gave me some lovely feedback and said how much they enjoyed reading what I sent in. True or just a standard rejection letter, it made me smile a lot that week, and again I needed that.
Lets be clear in blogging terms this is nothing, it's small fry, no really it is. However out of all of the above do you know whats given me the best feeling these past 10 months? What has honestly meant the most to me, It was that sometimes my blog reaches out to people. I don't mean in the number of views sense, but in the fact that it occasionally speaks out for people. Sometimes it makes them laugh, sometimes it has people nodding along with how bloody hard and equally amazing Motherhood is. Agreeing what a little shit Norman Price is, and how beautiful Tom Hardy is, but most of all very, very occasionally it helps people.
My blog to Steve Rowe was read over Fifteen thousand times (and again this is very small compared to some bloggers whose posts are read literally millions of times) but all those people read that one post. Mostly if not all employees just like myself who were affected by the changes to Pay and Pensions. Fifteen thousand people who weren't quite sure how to put across the way in which these changes would affect their lives, their futures. It spoke out for them, it explained to everyone how we were feeling. It even managed to reach M.P's and Steve Rowe himself. Who was a pretty good sport about it apparently, thanks Steve.
The amount of messages and emails I received was incredible, and what touched me the most was one lady in particular who had worked for the company for 34 years. She said she had been trying to put across, had wondered how to put across what she was feeling and she said my blog post did that for her. She said Thank you and I was so happy that I in some way helped her, even in the smallest of ways.
I also blogged about my journey with anxiety, that was a hard one to write. I was worried about the reaction and wondered if it meant whispers at the school gates and stares in the works canteen, and inevitably it did I'm sure. However all the messages I received, the supportive ones, the "I feel like that too" ones, the "I didn't know what to expect going to see my G.P now I do" ones. They all made me glad I wrote it and pressed publish.
I'll be honest my confidence thanks to my anxiety over the past 12 months has been pretty low.
All of the above in each small way has lifted me out of the black cloud that was threatening to loom over me and that can only be a good thing surely?
So yes I blog.
Yes it would be nice if someone read it and thought "Wow there really IS a niche in the market for another Mum who blogs. Who swears, who likes Tom Hardy, wine, coffee and Zombies" but somehow I think that's doubtful.
So I'll continue blogging as a hobby whilst I enjoy it, and when I stop enjoying it? I'll stop,
Me, not blogging or running or making things out of twigs.
Then I might take up running or making things out of twigs *
* I probably won't.