It's almost the end of January 2023 and might be too late for a 2022 wrap-up, but it's better to be late than never, right?

2022 was probably the most happening year of my life. Considering everything that happened in real life, it is surprising that I managed to keep up my hobbies as well as I did. Sure, they fell to the wayside a few times but I didn't stop any of them. I consider that a win.

As with anything, every hobby had ups and downs, new achievements, and a few setbacks. I have a lot to catch you up on. So, get a drink and settle down.

reading ?

Since 2021 worked really well without a proper reading goal, I kept the same idea of 2022 and it worked again. I started with a goal of 10 books and kept increasing by 10 to 100. After that, I stopped increasing my goal and just read for fun.

Despite not focusing on the number of books that I read, I read 170 books in 2022 which is way more than my number in 2021. This is after having a very dismal reading in December too. If I read well in the last month, the number would have been even higher.

my year in books 2022 - 52868 pages read and 170 books read

Quick reading facts:

  • Shortest book read - The Vampire Stayed for Breakfast by Juna Ratnam (32 pages). This was a cute novella.
  • Longest book read - Keeping 13 by Chloe Walsh (938 pages). This did NOT feel that long. I devoured it so fast. I reread my favourite chapters from it at least once a month since my first read.
  • Average book length - 310 pages.
  • My average rating - 3.6 stars. My average is generally around this number.
  • Number of books I rated 5 stars - 27. This is a good number, honestly. I'm good with that.
person reading a book with coffee & a pair of glasses next to the book

My only real goal was to read more books that took me longer to read. That meant books in non-fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction.

I also wanted to read books that I didn't gravitate towards easily. At some point, I have to push myself to read more than romance and 2022 was a good year to work on that.

About 23 books fit in the above goal which is 13.5% of my reads. That's not a great number but it's better than nothing. Many of those books took me a long time to read and were ones out of my comfort zone. I'm proud of myself for sticking with them.

The hardest books to read were:

My best reading months were definitely in the second half of the year. My picks became more varied in genre and I was reading a variety of books. As a consequence, I read fewer romance books than usual but that's alright.

I was surprised how only one of my romance reads made it to my best books of 2022 list but then my list this time was so varied and mixed. I'm quite proud of that.

illustration art of a person sitting cross-legged on bed, with a book on their lap, holding a mug.

For 2023, I am following the tried and true method of "going with the flow." I'm following the same reading goal of 10 books first and increasing until I hit 100. I want to let myself be a mood reader and pick up whatever I fancy at the moment.

My only proper goal is to read longer books. I am mainly targeting three big books that are on my physical shelf. If I manage to finish all of them, I want to tackle some big books in my TBR.

I am also going to try to read widely by being a part of book clubs. I have one book club with friends which helps me with this. I want to try other book clubs online as well. This is mainly to pick up books that are not on my TBR and that I wouldn't generally go for. I want to make sure to read books that are not influenced by hype.

blogging ?

Although 2022 felt like a low blogging year compared to 2021, I have so much to share. At least a lot of thoughts about what happened.

Looking at the milestones and other updates first:

  • This blog got 441k views in 2022 which was mind-blowing. I never thought that I would reach such numbers. SEO helped this blog thrive even when I wasn't actively posting.
  • My newsletter crossed 500 subscribers. This was amazing as well.
  • I changed the frequency of my newsletters to twice a month during the last 6 months of the year and I changed the way my newsletters were as well. I really liked changing my content and making them more like discussions.
  • I got about 80 new followers in 2022. That's honestly not much but I stopped expecting a ton of blog followers since I went self-hosted and noticed that people don't follow self-hosted blogs easily, so 80 is a good number as any.
  • I started a Discord channel for bloggers called Blog & Chill and initially had a lot of plans for it but life was too busy and I didn't get around to it. I also got a bit discouraged when I realized that many bloggers don't use Discord regularly. If you want to join, here's the link to it!
  • I published 34 blog posts in 2022 which is half my 2021 number. With the newsletter frequency increasing and each blog post getting longer, I couldn't be as regular as I wished.
  • My resource library did not get many updates. 2022 was just not my year to be consistent with the blog. I'm sad that the resource library took a hit but whatever it does have is still helpful for others.

My best-performing blog posts (that were published in 2022):

The top 3 posts overall were taken by posts that were published in 2021. All of these performed well due to traffic from search engines.

illustration of 6 bubbles each with one item inside them - open laptop saying thewordyhabitat on the screen, an open book, an art palette and brush, pinterest logo, instagram logo, twitter logo

A pattern that I've noticed over the years as a blogger is how the longer someone has been blogging, they don't find time to blog hop and comment as much. The most active people are generally new bloggers. I understand why it happens—there's too much going on in life and we're not as devoted to reading other blogs after a while.

I also think that if we've been blogging longer, we put more pressure on ourselves to give back the love to other blogs. No matter how much we do, it doesn't feel enough. I've fallen into this trap as well. So I want to step back and give a proper update.

In 2022, I mostly managed to keep up with the blogs I follow. Even if I took time to read blog posts, I made sure to catch up with posts. I made sure to comment whenever I could. When I didn't have the energy to, I at least gave posts the attention they deserve by reading them fully. I did not explore new blogs as much as I would have liked but I did find and follow a few new blogs.

I don't find socializing on the internet to be easy (part of the reason why I don't have a "group" or a set of good friends even after years of blogging) and I know that I have a formal way of speaking that doesn't scream "friendly." The only person I don't hesitate to DM is Clo, haha. It's funny that I decided to start a Discord channel because I do not have what it takes to keep a channel alive and regularly socialize. So, I'm proud of whatever I did.

illustration of a person typing on a pink keyboard with a pink mouse kept next to the keyboard

Another thing that fell aside in 2022 was blog maintenance. I had a really good maintenance routine in 2021 and even wrote an advice post on it. In 2022, I started becoming overwhelmed by the amount of blog maintenance required. As the number of posts grew, the more time I had to spend updating and fixing them. After a while, I simply had too many things on my to-do list to do anything.

There are people who undertake blog maintenance as a project and get it done (looking at Nicole, who is an inspiration) but I am not one of them.

In 2023, I want to have fun with blogging again and stop looking at it like a job and getting overwhelmed. I do want to update posts and keep things up but I won't feel like doing it if I make it into a chore.

I want to let myself post less regularly, be laxer with the kind of posts I publish, and look at it as a comforting hobby again. I want to spend more time reading other posts and commenting because that is genuinely something that makes me happy. I want to share what I'm passionate about without worrying about being helpful enough.

In line with the above, I've been itching for a change. Before I went self-hosted, I used to change my blog theme once in 6 months or lesser. I changed often and tried out various aesthetics. This was the first time that I did not change anything for almost 2 years.

I've been really happy with my current theme and I still love it. But I just want a change because it will make me feel motivated about my blog again. I've been looking at blog themes during my free time over the last few months and have shortlisted multiple. I'm still open to more before deciding on one. But there will definitely be a change in the blog theme this year. Possibly sooner than later but we will see. When that does happen, the blog won't go behind a screen but can be under various stages of "in progress" while I set things up.

I'm very excited about changing the blog theme. I can't wait to play around with CSS again and get my blog to look great in a new way. Keep an eye out for the new look!

illustration art of laptop, mug and a plant

social media ?

2022 was the year that social media completely changed for me. My relationship with every social media platform changed. My numbers on them changed. My attitude about them changed.

twitter ?

I stopped having a great relationship with Twitter when they changed the algorithm to tank tweets with links leading to outside of the platform. My feed used to be bloggers sharing their blog posts and I used to share my blog posts often. I used to participate in blog comment threads often and retweet all the blog post links on my feed.

After the algorithm change, my feed looked very different. Tweets from people I don't follow took up more space and Twitter Topics took more space. I switched to the chronological feed often but considering that I don't spend all day on the platform, I missed updates from a lot of people in a way I didn't before.

I also stopped promoting my blog posts as much because they weren't getting much attention anyway. I felt like no matter what I tweeted, it was not reaching my friends. And I wasn't seeing updates from my friends a lot. I don't like the Lists interface either.

It was a mixed bag with more negatives than positives. And then Musk took over Twitter.

Ever since the possibility came up, my feed was filled with people leaving the platform and talking about alternatives. People migrated to Mastodon at one point and but many people continued to stay on both platforms.

There was a ton of hopelessness and also negativity from the usual book twitter drama which turned me off the platform. I did not enjoy it as much and I found myself spending less and less time on it. To the point that even 5 minutes on the platform felt like 20 and I always felt drained after using it.

I know that I'm rambling but... Twitter used to be my main platform and it is now my least preferred platform. I used it to follow my tribe (bloggers & readers) and keep up with people and it descended into chaos.

It got to the point that I wanted to reduce my usage of it to the minimum. Last week, I uninstalled the app and only access it via the browser on my laptop. I accessed it maybe twice on my mobile browser but that's it. I feel the lack of the old Twitter but not the current one.

For 2023, I have absolutely no expectations or hopes for the platform. I'm still on there to tweet random things and talk to blogger friends but not too much.

outstretched hand below a phone mid-air which is surrounded by social media icons.

instagram ?

When 2022 began, I did not have a good relationship with Instagram. It was built on years of dissatisfaction with the platform and from not being a person who likes producing visual content. I was not good at taking photos and posting stories and reels and commenting a lot. I'm still not good at it.

But sometime during the year, I succeeded at removing all my expectations of the platform. I stopped seeing it in a certain way and stopped expecting it to work how it used to. I also stopped trying to fit myself into the algorithm or what seemed to be working on the platform.

It happened gradually but I'm finally on the other side. And now, I'm actually liking the platform. To be more accurate, I'm liking the content that I put out and that I see. I stopped seeing the numbers and stopped trying to post every day or be the best content creator.

I started posting my annotations and favourite quotes. I started sharing the small things in my days. I started caring about experimenting (even with reels). I stopped trying to make my photos look perfect and started caring about what I posted.

In my mind, I've stripped down Instagram to the basics: talking about books. Nothing else matters. It made the platform a much better place to be.

When 2022 began, I had 1741 Instagram followers. And I was actually losing followers more than gaining them. For almost a year, my follower count was stagnant. But once my attitude changed, the numbers started looking better too.

As of writing this post, I have 1888 followers. When you look at the difference, it's about 140 followers. To many people, that's not a great increase. But that's a big increase for me. I'm not getting 100 likes per post or a ton of comments either but every single like and comment feels monumental.

Above all, I like the content that I'm sharing. I like the books that I talk about and the quotes I share. I like the annotation dumps I see on my feed and the stories about reading books.

I tried making a couple of reels as well and one of them blew up a little. I do not understand why but it did and I believe it's the cause of most of my new followers. I decided to not bother understanding how reels work and just do whatever I feel like.

open laptop on a desk with book and mug with coffee

For 2023, I want to keep experimenting and posting whatever I feel like. Currently, it is photo dumps.

I generally don't take photos of small things during my days. I send snaps but I don't save them if they're not something I might want to refer back to or isn't a big memory. I simply don't have the habit of appreciating the small things and capturing them.

There's been a growing trend of photo dumps on Instagram, though. Especially of the small moments. And I love it. I love seeing pictures of coffee and the sky and flowers and random quotes from current reads. It makes me happy. And it makes me want to start posting casual photo dumps of my own. It will definitely take time to form a capturing habit but I want to make an effort, at least to capture for myself.

I'm considering trying out reels more because some of the audio is funny or attractive. But I do not know what to post or I don't feel like filming videos much. We'll see how it goes.

pinterest ?

Pinterest was definitely my best social media platform of 2022. Probably because it does not work like any other platform.

I started working on Pinterest marketing for the blog in 2021. I started with a low-key strategy which seemed to work. But I wasn't very consistent with it and at this point, I pin at random times and use the app mainly for inspiration.

My scattered efforts throughout have made a difference, though. When I started working on pinning properly, my account used to get less than 1k views a month. By the end of 2022, my account was getting ~195k views a month. That's a big increase. My blog has been proportionately getting more referrals from Pinterest as well.

A lot of the growth happened in 2022 despite no regular pinning or activity. I made sure to never lose touch with the platform, even if I was pinning only once a month. I used it semi-regularly, created a batch of pins, and manually pinned whenever I could.

I'm sure that if I had followed a proper Pinterest strategy that other bloggers recommend, I would have given up on the platform quickly and it wouldn't have grown this much. It wouldn't have fit into my life with all the other priorities. The little time I had paid off simply because I was consistent despite the low frequency.

I have realized that consistency matters more than frequency on Pinterest. Pinning once a week is better than pinning every day for a month and disappearing after that. And since Pinterest works like a search engine as well as a discovery platform and does not require socializing, it's easy and nice.

Since I'm a nerd about stats and patterns in growth, I've been keeping track of my Pinterest stats along with casual notes throughout the year. You can check out my Pinterest numbers in graphs and my notes in the resource library (yay for the first new resource in 2023 haha).

For 2023, I want to continue being consistent on Pinterest with hopefully a little more frequency. I want to experiment with pins and actually pin all my posts rather than only a subset of them. But I'm not keeping this as a hard goal. We'll see how it goes.

illustration of an ipad opened to one of the wordy habitat's posts with a coffee, and a small plant next to it.

art ?

Honestly, art wasn't a priority in 2022 and it showed. It's a good thing that I made a rule to draw something new for every new blog post because I barely drew otherwise.

The only time I truly drew extra was when I did Blinktober. That challenge was fun. I experimented a bit and drew only for the sake of drawing and not for the blog.

I'm thinking of participating in Inktober in 2023. I don't see myself making art a priority this year either. It's a hobby I like but it's not a hobby I prefer over others. So, I will join challenges to draw a little more than I would otherwise.

The only note-worthy event in 2022 was making an art gallery. Even though I mainly drew only for blog posts, I've drawn quite a few illustrations and there was never one place to look at them. After a friend asked where she can show someone else all of my drawings, I decided to make an art gallery space on the blog.

Seeing all of my illustrations together makes me really happy. My efforts to follow a colour scheme and aesthetic paid off. The showcase looks great. You can check out my art gallery here!

illustration of a person in warm clothes holding a cup that says "coffee"

chat with me!

How was your 2022? What were the highlights of your life or hobbies? Did you start anything new or change how you were doing something? What is your hope for 2023? Tell me in the comments!

photo of Sumedha

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

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  • Annemieke says:

    It is interesting to read your thoughts on pinterest. I might need to relook at the platform. I used it for a bit but never consistently enough (always forgot haha).

    Reply ➔
  • Clo @ Cuppa Clo says:

    brb whilst I sob, you are always welcome in my dms whether that's Instagram, Twitter or Discord like you can message me wherever or on them all if you want to hehe. I feel you on the point about wanting to return the love to other bloggers, particularly when we've been blogging a while. I've not found the time or energy to hop to new blogs because life is just rude. However like yourself, I've been doing my best to keep up with the current blogs I love and follow leaving a comment when I have the energy too. I will say though, finding your group of friends online is a time and I truly don't know how I did it? I guess I just kept trying and eventually found a group of people, I'm grateful I found you as well hehe. You're killing it with those stats and I'm so proud of all you accomplished!

    I am so sad about twitter, it used to be my preferred platform as well and I desperately miss the old twitter. I now mostly hang on Discord and Instagram but I do miss twitter. Not how it is now but what it was before everything. Sending you all my love *hugs* ?

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      and so are youu ? glad you found me as well ?

      yeah, twt is out and it is what it is. i do quite like the vibe discord has though.

      thank you! ?

      Reply ➔