One of my favourite activities to do at any time is to look back on the highs, the lows, and what they lead me to in the future. There is something calming about the process of reflecting because it helps one get a clear direction for the future.

2021 had several chapters. Some were good, some were okay, and some were failures. But overall, it was a good year for my hobbies. I'm satisfied with what I did. I learnt to prioritize and split my time between them. Sure, work decimated my entire routine for a few months, but we're not striving for perfection so it's okay.

an illustration of myself with items of my hobbies around me - a laptop, ipad and apple pencil, an open book, and a mug of tea.


I went into 2021 without any proper reading goal. Since 2015, I've had some sort of reading goal all the time. Be it a number, a yearly challenge, or something else. Over time, reading wasn't as fun or carefree anymore.

This especially hit in 2020 because I tried the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. And I went for all 50 prompts. It was a lot and it took me the entire year to get it done. It did make me go in search of books and pick up ones out of my familiar zones, but it was definitely a challenge.

Hence, I decided to not have any goal in 2021. I did not participate in any challenges or readathons. I stopped requesting ARCs in the last few months too. For the Goodreads annual reading challenge, I kept my initial goal at 10 books and increased by 10 every time I hit the goal. After hitting 50, I stopped increasing the goal.

Throughout the year, I simply read what I wanted to. You can guess what my moods were depending on what I read. When I was stressed, I read only romance. When I didn't have any brain space, I reread favourites. For the first time in years, reading was something I did purely based on want.

Since I wasn't reaching for anything, I'm not surprised that I read the least number of books since 2015 which was the year I started tracking my reads.

2021, My Year in Books, 38062 pages read, 125 books read.

Reading lesser books let me pick up books I wouldn't read if I was on a crunch. Books like A Little Life, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Atomic Habits, The Mermaid from Jeju and An Atlas of Impossible Longing. They took me longer to read for different reasons and I didn't worry about it. It was nice to simply read books whether I liked them or not and not worry about how long I'm taking to read them.

Out of the 125 books, 94 books were romance books which I'm not surprised about. They're easy to read, they provide an escape, they give hope, and I love them. I read quite some literary fiction too. And only 2 were non-fiction which is sad but oh well.

I'm happy to report that 15 books made it to my best books of 2021 list! I generally narrow it down to 10 but I couldn't this time because different books stuck with me for different reasons. I didn't want to cut any of them from the list.

Interestingly, only two books in that list are YA. For the last couple of years, I've been reading more Adult books but 2021 showed how much I'm moving away from YA. I did read several YA books but they were mostly ARCs. The majority of my reads were in the Adult category.

I'm a little sad about it because so many amazing YA books are coming out nowadays. Several 2021 YA releases are on my TBR but I have to admit that I wouldn't go for them easily. I want to read them but I'm just not in the mood, you know?

Overall, I'm satisfied with my 2021 reading. I did not have several 5-star reads or the majority of my books weren't great, but they were okay. I tried new books and read many for comfort. They served my purpose.

For 2022, I want to continue the same way. No big challenges and no goals that I need to work for. I hope to read more literary fiction, read longer books, and more non-fiction. Basically, more books that would take me longer to read.

illustration art of laptop, mug and a plant


This January marks 6 years since I started blogging and 2021 was my best year yet. I started the year with a blogging slump which led me to take time off and see what I want to do further.

Here's everything that I ended up doing:

  • Went self-hosted! This was the biggest blogging thing that I did this year. Going self-hosted is not easy because there are several options and things to do. But it was the right thing for me. Since going self-hosted, I feel like I've entered a new side of the blogosphere. I've made new friends like Amanda and Lay whom I found only after going self-hosted. It has also allowed me to consider new types of content which I didn't have the freedom for before. It's allowing me to actively use everything I learnt during my blogging journey and also learn way more.
  • Started a newsletter! I never considered having a newsletter. But a couple of months after launching this blog, the idea was quite appealing. Now, I look forward to writing my monthly newsletters. It's a completely different channel for content and communication and I'm having fun with it.
  • Opened monetization channels for the blog. Before going self-hosted, I didn't even have a "buy me a coffee" option. I was doing it purely for fun. Now that I'm putting in significant effort and I know that I'm publishing helpful and quality content, I'm okay with monetizing my content. I don't make much but it tells me that my content is worth it.

The universe is also rewarding me in return for the effort. Here are the stats:

  • Hit 100k views. In less than 11 months! My old blog didn't even go close to that number. I didn't think I'd hit the number in 2021 but I managed to in the last few days of the year. It was a really nice way to end 2021.
  • 2560 followers. To be fair, I transferred most of the followers from my old blog. So it is multiple years of effort. Honestly, the follower count of this blog is not great. I think it is to do with going self-hosted because following using WordPress is not as easy as it used to be.
  • 275 newsletter followers. I'm super happy with this! I'm sure most of it is because I clubbed newsletter subscriptions with access to the resource library, but still. It shows that my content (whichever one subscribers are coming for) is worth signing up for.
an illustration drawing of a girl using her laptop

I'm happy with my blogging in 2021. I may have had a huge slump in the later months which did show in my stats but it is what it is.

For 2022, I want to blog consistently and work on one big project that's been on my mind since August. I got the idea right as my job became too much so I couldn't start working on it. It's been lingering in my mind since then, waiting for me to pick it up. It will take months to complete but it will be highly satisfying to finish, even if no one else likes it.*

I want to make commenting back a habit this year. Most of the time, I only keep up with my friends' blogs and blog hop only when I have a lot of time. As this year goes on, I'm sure I won't find a chunk of time to blog hop anymore. So to start with small steps, I have started commenting back from Jan 1st and hopefully, those blogs will lead to more blogs and so on. A little bit of blog hopping every day or week will be good.

A lesser priority goal is to guest post on other blogs. I did a few guest posts last year and they were fun. Writing on my blog is nice but having to write on another blog—according to their content, niche, and audience—is a fun challenge. I like it so I'm going to try to guest post a little.

And that's it for my blogging goals! I'm not keeping numerical goals because if I do, I'll lose myself in them.

*I really hope y'all like it though. I need that validation.

person holding mug that says "tea is superior"


When 2021 started, art was a major part of my days. I had started drawing digitally on a drawing pad which soon became an iPad purchase for Procreate. I used to love art at one point so this rekindled that hobby.

A few fun facts:

  • I made my art an integral part of this blog. I tend to put blogging over other things and I didn't want art to become one of those things. My rule is that I have to draw one new illustration for every blog post which becomes the post's featured image. That tactic worked! I'm glad I took that decision otherwise art would have been lost again. It also helps maintain a cohesive aesthetic throughout the blog because I have full control over the graphics.
  • I got an art commission! Considering that I have not been doing digital art for a long time and I have long ways to go in skill, it was a pleasant surprise. I needed that validation.
  • I'm clearly gravitating towards one specific illustration style. I have tried other styles, even within illustrations, but it doesn't feel like my style. Even my Pinterest board is mostly illustrations similar to what I draw. While detailed illustrations are amazing and show skill, I'm not going for that.

Art is not a priority for me, at the moment. I'm deeply passionate about blogging and art is something I do for fun sometimes. Since I've linked it to the blog, I'm figuring out how to draw post-related illustrations while keeping the colours, style, and aesthetic. It's fun and that's it. That's why I don't have specific updates after what I mentioned in my Mid-Year Notes. I don't have a specific measure to say that I've progressed enough with art.

For 2022, I want to keep having fun with art. I want to draw illustrations that have nothing to do with the blog, like the BTS one that I did recently. Maybe try new styles if I'm in the mood for it. I should go back to using the drawing pad at least once to see how far I've come and feel the difference compared to Procreate. If I get art commissions this year, great. But I won't be expecting or going after them.

a book with sticky tabs illustration art


2021 has been a good year for my hobbies. I love that I can say three different things when introducing myself to people. Recently, I was talking to a couple of strangers in a coffee shop (where I went to write most of this post!) and I showed them this blog. I was very proud to show this brainchild of mine and see people liking it. Seeing good reactions and hearing compliments make me want to work even harder on this blog. I can't wait to see where I go with it in 2022!

I'm not going to try to pick up a new hobby this year because I have my hands full with these three. I also need to prioritise basic things in real life like learning to drive properly and upskilling for my main career. I'm sure other things will pop up during the year as well.

chapters of 2021 achievements, reflections, and 2022 hopefuls pinterest image

be wordy with me!

How were the chapters of your 2021? What do you remember fondly? Did you start anything new? Tell me in the comments!

stay wordy, Sumedha
photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

Be wordy with me!

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