I've been drafting bits and pieces of this post for the last month and a half. Firstly, I forgot that half the year ends at the end of June, not May. You might have gotten this post much earlier if I didn't later realize that my sense of time is warped.

It feels like I have a lot to say and yet not much because this year has been pretty weird. The title mentions exciting and disappointing things as well but to me, the entire year feels weird so far. I can't think of another word to describe it.

Weird or not, I have a lot of notes about 2023 so far. Feel free to hop around to sections you're interested in through the table of contents.

notes on reading

As of writing this, I've read 79 books this year. It's considerably lesser than how much I read the last year but I don't mind. I want to move away from looking at numbers and focus more on what I'm reading.

My goals this year are to read the big books on my shelves and read widely. On the former, I haven't made any progress. I did read some big books that weren't on my shelves initially but I didn't get to any of the three that I was aiming for. However, my next book is going to be one of them. I have decided.*

To make sure that I read widely, I planned to join book clubs for motivation. It worked only for a couple of months. However, my reading spread across genres without it. I've been conscious about reading books out of my comfort zone, reading with books that take longer to read (so far, two books have taken me over a month each), and not always reaching for romance books.

I'm pretty proud of myself for this. I may not have read as many books as I could have but I read some really good books that are worth several. I'm reading well.

I've also been rereading a lot lately. June and July have not been great months for me and I needed to reread my comfort books. Other than them, I have been wanting to reread some good books to annotate them more or to read them as physical books and annotate for the first time. While I've never been against rereading, I'm only now completely okay with enjoying rereads over reading new books.

*Promises, promises.

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

Overall, romance still dominates my reading. It's very easy to finish a romance book in one sitting. But the ratio of time I spent reading romance vs other genres is reducing. It's not like I hate romance books but I do feel like I reach for them often because they're easy. And lately, a ton of them have been disappointing as well. It's a good time to try other genres.

The "weird" part of this year's reading was the number of disappointing romance books. It was surprising and off-putting to dislike so many books in my supposed favourite genre. I acknowledge that it's time for a change but it's not like I'm 100% happy about it. It has always been there for me for comfort and escape and peace of mind through the years. I don't want to enjoy this genre any lesser.

It looks like I'm much more picky about what I like now. I don't enjoy simple renditions of tropes and find many stories repetitive or similar to each other. Maybe if I stop reading romance so much, I'll enjoy the books more.

my favourite books so far

In romance, Tis the Season for Revenge by Morgan Elizabeth and Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez stand out. I've read both of them twice already and they are firmly in my comfort reads category.

Out of the three non-fiction books I read this year, two made it to this list. Love that for me. The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins and How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren were show stoppers. I took more than a month to read each of them and they were worth it.

For the rest of the year, I plan to continue focusing on reading well and trying new books. A part of it is being selectively influenced by social media. My current feed pushes me towards romance again and again. I need to stop being easily influenced to keep reading Kindle Unlimited romances and actually pick up books that are on my TBR.

notes on blogging

2022 was my best blogging year ever. I hit milestones that I dreamt about for years and effectively reached all the goals that I was chasing. In the wake of that year, I find myself less motivated to blog.

That's the main reason I haven't been as good at blogging this year. I'm not prioritizing it over most other things like I used to. I don't spend my free time coming up with new ideas for the blog and working on them. For a long time (read: until two months back), I saw this negatively and kept waiting to get back to how my routine used to be.

Now, I'm learning to be okay with this and seeing it positively. It's true that blogging was my main hobby for years and I worked on it more than I worked on anything else. It can also be true that I want to stop working at it that way. My stats are currently in a clear decline because my efforts have been reduced. And that's okay.

I don't want to stop blogging but I do want to change how I blog. I changed my blog theme a few months back to properly signify a change and I love it. It's cute and warm. I like the different shapes. It's also more casual which is what I need.

illustration of a green typewriter surrounded by a partial wreath with dots and stars making the illustration look magical

My blog posts used to be all about information and being helpful. I wrote book lists, blogging guides, and even combinations of the two. I'm extremely proud of those posts but I want to do other things now. I want to be more personal and intentional with my posts and focus less on SEO traffic.

Although I published only 16 blog posts this year, I really like what I've written in each of them. The posts that I'm the most proud of are:

  • How I Acquire Books: This is a personal-ish post that won't show up in any search results but I loved writing it and seeing the response to it.
  • My 2022 Blog Statistics: I've not seen bloggers (especially book bloggers) be very transparent with statistics and considering that I did really well for a while, I wanted to share what it looks like. I also wanted to ascertain that such numbers are possible for hobby bloggers.
  • Required Reading || Is Academic Reading Making a Difference?: I want to start writing discussion posts again and this was a great one to get back into it with. I am very proud of this post and got compliments from many people, even people I know in real life, on it. Each of them made me so happy.
  • The blog post celebrating my second blog anniversary with this self-hosted blog was a good one to write. Looking back in that way was really nice.

The pattern among the above posts is clear—personal and discussion posts. More content about my experience and opinions. More posts that start discussions. That's what I want to work towards for the rest of the year. I need to stop feeling that I have to be helpful as well, it's okay if I just chat about my life on here. It's a blog.

Nevertheless, it's weird to put blogging on a lower pedestal than the one it has occupied for years. It's a little weird to not try to find time for it always and to be okay with posting once or twice a month, even if I'm posting only reading wrap-ups. It's something to get used to.

One high note was being included in FeedSpot's Best Asian Book Blogs list. Being included in lists and being linked to by other bloggers in their posts gives me instant boosts of motivation to continue blogging.

On a similar note, I'm trying to figure out what direction to go in with my newsletter as well. I've been sending regular newsletters for two years now. They've been of many types because I experimented a bunch. Some were proper discussion content, some were helpful, some were like a blog update, some were life updates, and some were random.

I'm considering making the newsletters shorter and about one topic only. It should be a more friendly communication. I won't restrict myself to a type of newsletter though. I am nowhere close to figuring out which type to stick to and I don't see a specific preference from the response as well. Let's see how it goes. It's going to continue to be a fun little monthly thing where I pull talking points out of thin air.

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

notes on social media

My relationship with social media has been a hot mess this year. All of them are utter chaos and my mind craves peace the more I open those platforms.

Twitter is nostalgic, unique (in audience), and yet a dumpster fire. Instagram is good in some ways and too much effort in others. Pinterest is long forgotten by me. And Threads is newfound confusion.

I used to have my content on different platforms neatly separated and organized. It helped me switch when I was bored and make the best of what I could do with the different options. Now, everything is a chaotic mash of me losing my mind.

They were bearable even a couple of months back. But now, they aren't bearable at all. I don't have the energy to come up with content for things or share my thoughts in a good way. At this point, I only want to share quotes or annotations from my current reads in one place and disappear otherwise.

I've been doing it on Instagram so far because it's easy to take a quick picture and post it on stories. But every so often I feel like I could be doing more or preserving those posts by sharing on the feed. But then, feed posts need to be aesthetic and the standard is too high nowadays. I want to go back to the old days of posting pictures with no filters or built-in Instagram filters and moving on.

This blog is a good collection of my passions and opinions. There's no point in reviewing books again or repeating anything on social media. I don't want to share my life on social media anymore. Random thoughts now and then maybe but that's it. I definitely don't need three or four platforms for it.

I want to scale back from social media considerably during the rest of the year and see what I want to keep. It's not all bad but it shouldn't be overwhelming. There is a way to keep my connections, share what I'm passionate about, and not have to overdo anything. I just have to get there.

illustration of a person holding up a daisy flower

notes on life

2022 was a year of travel. I quite expected 2023 to turn out the same but it hasn't so far and I'm not too disappointed about it. While I like travelling, it's good to have good daily routines as well. There's no need to set off on a vacation every month even though it sounds appealing.

I travelled only once this year so far. It was back in January for a friend's wedding. We went as a big group and had a great time. I actually have a short trip planned for later this month. But that's it for now.

If I'm not travelling or blogging often, where's my time going, you ask? It's being eaten up by physical activities, surprisingly. I was never very into sports or activities or staying fit. Sure, I would go along with friends when I had time but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

A friend pulled me to go on daily walks with her and even though she stopped coming, I continued and started running. My colleagues and I became serious about playing badminton regularly (twice or thrice a week). I kept up a proper routine for two to three months and it was great.

In fact, it looks like everyone around me is in their gym or fit era and I love it. Everyone's working on themselves and it's turned into a motivation loop. My friends and I still hang out otherwise but we also make plans to play badminton or table tennis regularly. I cherish my morning runs with my music. It's exhilarating to see progress on something I never really worked on before.

Well, maybe things went well for too long because it got stopped in June. I got into a minor accident while riding and am currently recovering from a few injuries. The most annoying one is with my right shoulder. Since I fell on it, it requires a good amount of rest and time to heal. I've had to pause playing, running, and have to be careful about even basic things like typing.

But it's okay. It happens. It could have easily been much worse and I'm grateful it wasn't. I just have to get back to the good routines in time when I can instead of forgetting about them. I have people around me who will pull me into playing at least so it's not like I will stop easily.

three bookmarks with the quote "i want to be defined by the things that i love, not the things that i hate, not the things that i'm afraid of, not the things that haunt me in the middle of the night, i just think that you are what you love" illustration

Other than that, I'm just living and taking things day by day. Working, spending time with friends, reading, and being active are enough to fill all my weeks. There's beauty and peace in these routines that bring joy every day. While I want to travel from time to time, I am also appreciating normal days.

Some days, I draw for fun. At the end of long days, I listen to Taylor Swift and play 2048 (there's a Taylor Swift version of 2048 as well!). I hang out on Discord with my friends when they're available. I started going to Cubbon Reads and made some new friends. It's lovely to meet and talk to other voracious readers.

Since I needed new clothes after losing weight, I bought clothes of different styles to try them out. I sing out loud when I can, even in public (generally while walking on roads when there aren't people around me). I fell in love with music by CHPTRS all over again. I watch comforting daily vlogs on YouTube (and get 5-minute urges to try YouTube again). I watched a couple of lectures of a literature course on YouTube and loved them (and lowkey want to do a masters in lit now).

I make sure to take care of my skin with the changing seasons (I've had lesser eczema flare-ups for the past few months!). I make lists of things I need to do. I set reminders to text and check in on people. I daydream in transit. I read before going to bed.

And so, life goes on. (I wouldn't miss it for the world.)

what about you?

How has your 2023 been so far? Did your daily routines change in any way? What's on your playlists? What are you looking forward to? Tell me everything <3

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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  • Yesha says:

    Looks like really good year so far. This year Romance and fantasy are both on almost same level for me. Running somehow never worked for me, It's great you're enjoying it. I love walking but as this year it's raining a lot only workout I'm regular in is those I can do at home with a floor mat. My routine changed a lot because of the ongoing interior of my new house I don't hope it will be regular until next year.

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  • Clo @ Cuppa Clo says:

    OMG yes I agree with your sentiments on social media, twitter I miss pre it being a complete hot mess for the people and connections there. Instagram is where I typically hang out but even so it's a lot of effort, which is why I post on my main feed sporadically and usually in correlation with a blog post going live. Threads I haven't really looked at but what I've seen is more than enough. Pinterest I don't really use all that much either. Congrats on hitting your blogging goals and I hope you're able to find that balance with more personal posts and finding other hobbies to interest.

    My year so far has been a mixed bag, like the highs were high and the lows have been really low like >.> thank you universe I guess for keeping things in balance but I'd have rather not had the low, low. It's also been a year of travelling for me, which has been nice and am looking forward to going away in August. I also made a small step forward in career wise, which will be nice, generally though I've also been feeling rather stuck with life. So I'm hoping by the end of the year I will feel less stuck and have a better idea of where I want to go with things. Hope you're recovering alright and sending you all the good energy for the rest of this year!

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      i love seeing your travel posts and updates! it’s a new era and i love that for you. hope you’re able to sort things out and feel unstuck, that’s always an annoying place to be in <3

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  • abookowlscorner says:

    I've actually been loving the new direction of your blog! More personal discussion posts are some of my favorite content out there, and yours are always particularly interesting and thought provoking! ?

    I'm also happy to hear your goal of branching out with your reading is going so well! Between that and the other fun activities you've been trying, your 2023 actually sounds great! I feel like time spent outside with friends is way more rewarding than social media anyway ? I wish you lots of luck figuring out which direction you want to go in with that, but just know that we definitely won't hold it against you if you decide to take a step back and put yourself first! ?

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      thank you, Naemi!! i like writing these “think posts” too, haha. my required reading one got people in my real life to compliment me as well which was weird and ego-boosting 😂

      i actually did take a step back from twt and ig and it’s been pretty great so far! i do think i’ll come back but only after a while, when i’ve decided what i want them for.

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  • celinelingg says:

    Well, I kind of agree with you. I don't think I read many good romances this year. Some made the impression but more is kinda lacking in a way. Also, your blog is just so comfy to visit!

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  • jan says:

    twitter is nostalgic, unique, yet a dumpster fire - you're so right! (and omg these days it gets wild whenever it announces an update or something) but i'm glad for the time i spend on there and the friends i made:) I actually prefer it to instragram because there's a constant stream of effort you have to put into an instagram post and I don't have the energy to do that right now.

    And i can't remember if i've told you this before, but i love your blog redesign! it feels homey and comfy.

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      that! but somehow twt ended up as a place where the people i socialize with don’t hang out as much so both twt and ig are up in the air. i actually uninstalled both a couple of weeks back and it’s given me so much mental peace 😂

      thank you so much, Jan!

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