When you've done something for several years, it is worth talking about.

I discovered blogging at the end of my high school years and haven't looked back since. I've blogged through some of my most important years and have recorded a lot of it on the blog. I've seen big shifts in the blogging world as people have shifted to new platforms. I have made and lost touch with many friends.

My blogging journey has been full of ups and downs. It's hard to summarize everything in one post but I want to try because blogging has become one of the biggest parts of me and I can't imagine life without a space of my own on the internet.

I had made a post chronicling my blogging journey a couple of years back but it's way overdue for a refresh. As I've grown as a person, my perspective of the past has changed and different things stand out. So, here's an updated post with the latest updates and through a slightly different lens.

the beginning: 2016-2017

According to WordPress, I signed up on 11th February 2015 but I don't remember it. And I certainly didn't post then. WordPress uses that date to wish me "happy joining anniversary" every year but I don't consider that date.

To me, my first blogging day was January 16th, 2016. I was a senior in high school preparing for my final exams and worried about college entrance exams. I was reading books almost every spare minute to de-stress.

I had newly started reviewing books on GoodReads and was enamoured to have a platform to share my thoughts. On that day, while writing a review on GoodReads, I noticed a small box on the right saying "copy/paste the text below into your blog." I was a computer science student so I recognized the HTML block with my review and was intrigued.

I googled "blog" and WordPress was the first result so I created a blog without having a clue about blogging. There were too many steps to create a blog and I was impatient so when it asked for a blog name, I chose the first thing that came to mind. And voila, a blog of my own!

When the editor opened for my first post, I pasted the HTML from Goodreads, updated the title, and hit publish. I was so excited that I immediately posted two more reviews from Goodreads. The next day, I posted another and my first poem. I returned almost every day to share something new.

screenshot of my first few blog posts from 16th jan to 20th jan 2016
my first few blog posts

My first blog was a literal playground for me. I posted whatever I wanted—journal entries, book reviews, and even POETRY*—and had fun. I was blogging anonymously and didn't tell my friends so I didn't think about making it presentable. I didn't expect people to read my words at all. Hence, I didn't think to publish an introductory post.

*I read the "girl in the mirror" poem recently and was floored. It felt like that poem was written by someone else because that's so far away from who I am now. I avoid poetry now!

Despite the randomness of my posts, I was lucky to get a readership fast. The blog got 42 followers in two weeks and 100 followers in two months. It quickly made me anxious about posting worthy content so I spent more time researching, reading other blogs, and experimenting.

For almost a year, I blogged anonymously and wrote almost one post every day. It's the only reason my blogging voice developed early. I posted frequently and experimented with my writing. While my voice has refined since then, it is still quite similar to my writing from then.

Those initial days of blogging were the purest in my entire blogging journey. I shared my unfiltered thoughts and interests. I spoke about my friendships, dreams, worries, anxieties, and more. One day, I want to spend some time to read them all

17-year-old Sumedha had some great thoughts and was, in a few ways, braver than I am. She was more optimistic and thought that she could be the best if she tried. She wasn't afraid to declare her vulnerabilities and promised to be better. She also overthought a lot, felt alone in the world, and felt helpless.

Reading my words from years back is moving. It's wild that I've grown and changed so much that my old self feels like a stranger.

On one hand, I want to share my old posts with someone and revel in how I was. On the other hand, I want to guard them with everything I have because no one else will understand those feelings.

I don't want to end up with that regret of not living.

Sumedha circa February 26, 2016

Out of everything, I'm glad to have started blogging because I have many of my thoughts and days documented. Reading about the old days gives me so much comfort at times. The good stuff makes me happy and the sad stuff reminds me that they pass. I've recorded exactly what happened on my high school farewell! I wrote about my first month in college!

It's a good thing that I was blogging anonymously because I wouldn't have recorded personal things otherwise. I knew all about internet danger so I didn't even consider blogging with my real name or sharing any personal details.

I found the teenage blogging community on WordPress and became friends with quite a few of them. Elm was my first friend in the blogging community and although we've lost touch, I sometimes randomly think of her. I became friends with Charley in the early days as well and is the only one I still keep up with from that time.

an illustration drawing of a girl using her laptop

I have only one regret from that time. I wish I held on tighter to friends. I wasn't good at bonding with people and taking our friendship off the blogs which is why I lost touch with a lot of them after I switched blog names or when they switched/stopped blogging. I was horrible at making and keeping blogging friends for a long time.

Until a while back, I also regretted the name of the blog. As I mentioned, I chose the first thing that came to mind and it was "light up the shining night stars." It was a fanciful, random name. It wouldn't have mattered much if I kept the blog as a diary and posted random things. As soon as I wanted to do better, the name got annoying.

I regretted the name because it wasn't nice and didn't help in my blog being remembered well. But I don't regret it now. It represented my blog at that time and reflected my fanciful teenage self.

The first year of blogging remains in my mind with fondness—for my old self, my dreams, the hope that I had, and the blogging space of that time.

the making of twh: 2017-2020

I had started to blog better and was proud of my content. I mentioned it to a friend in real life and realized that the name was not rememberable. So, I decided to change it.

The new name had to be unique on all platforms, easy to remember, and shouldn't be restricted to a niche. After a while, I settled on "the wordy habitat" and made the official switch on 17th October 2020. I was still under the free WordPress plan. I decided to fully embrace this new name and created social media profiles with it.

Since I planned to show it to more friends in real life, I privated a bunch of my posts and stopped posting about personal things. I became serious about blogging.

I focused on improving my craft in different ways. I actively worked on improving my blog by making it look good, interacting with other bloggers more, promoting my content on social media, and more.

It was during these three years that I made myself known. I was writing good content, posting often, and promoting often. I spent almost all of my weekends blogging. All that effort helped in growing my blog readership and setting up my "the wordy habitat" brand. A lot of my current work is built upon what I learned in those years.

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

A few months in, I stumbled across SEO. My old posts were getting consistent traffic and I learnt that it was through search engines. I knew nothing about SEO so the fact that I ranked without trying? I was shocked. Wanting to understand how it works, I spent a lot of time researching SEO and making notes. Then I did not use the knowledge.

This is the only thing that I regret from the second blogging phase. I learnt so much about SEO and didn't apply it. With a cavalier attitude, I concluded that if I could do it once without trying, it would happen again without any effort.

When you put in effort in any area, it is SEEN. When I started actively blog hopping and commenting, I saw the difference in engagement on my blog too. Who knows how far I would've gone if I started applying SEO back then?

While I regret it, I'm not annoyed at myself for not using SEO anymore. I do think that I would have gotten more views through it but as I was on the free WordPress plan, I couldn't have effectively used it. I'm not annoyed at myself anymore because it's far more useful to apply SEO on a self-hosted website.

If my blog had grown more, I would have lost all of that work when I went self-hosted. I already lost a lot of my work and SEO ranking but it was easy to earn back. I'm glad I didn't lose even more.

2017 to 2020 were my quantity and quality years. I blogged thrice a week throughout and even participated in blogtober and blogmas*. If I could write enough about it, it became a post. I found inspiration everywhere and was enthusiastic about all my ideas.

*Blogtober is a month-long blogging event where you post every day in October. Blogmas is an event where you post every day from the 1st to the 25th of December.

Over those years, I tried different methods to stay consistent and somehow kept up the frequency while studying for my college classes. For a while, I planned an entire month's content at once and the rest of the month was focused on writing. Sometimes, I batch-wrote posts in the weekends and scheduled them.

Despite the gruelling pace, most of my posts were good. I could repost a bunch of them even now, with a lift. I wrote discussion posts that I find interesting to date and had a lot to say about every book that I read. It felt like I could never run out of things to say.

I wrote many chatty posts with different titles and concepts. My favourite was a series called "if we were having tea..." where I wrote everything that I would say if we were having tea together in person.

illustration of a person blogging in a cafe with an open book next to them and a cup of coffee

As I was proud of it, I started sharing my blog with friends in real life. Not everyone understood or cared but a few people read my posts sometimes. Even today, I feel an extra rush of affection when someone says that they read my blog.

I was not good at sharing it or even saying that I blog to new people but I was slowly getting over it. I started promoting my blog on Instagram and Twitter. As more people liked my words online, I was emboldened to share them offline. I started being known for it.

As my friend group grew closer, we started hanging out on Discord voice channels in the night as we did different things like assignments or chores. Many of them were gamers so they would often play League of Legends together. I would do my assignments or blog while on voice chat with them.

Initially, I used to feel left out and annoyed that they played a game that I wasn't interested in and I couldn't talk to them much as they played. I would be on the voice channel with them as I blogged. Over time, I got used to blogging with their game talk as background noise. It has become a habit.

They play the game almost every night now so when I want to blog, I join the voice chat and my brain immediately goes into writing mode. It's funny that what I once hated became a helpful cue for my writing.

leaving the free plan: 2020-2021

I had been wanting a domain of my own for a while. As I was sharing my blog in real life, I didn't want to share a ".wordpress.com" link. My plan was to get a domain with my initial savings from my first job.

Once I had the income to spend, I looked into available options and became overwhelmed. There are so many options. I spent a while considering what to do. I needed an option that wouldn't take a lot of time or money as I was doing a full-time internship along with the last set of college classes.

I went for the WordPress personal plan with a free custom domain with the idea of self-hosting later on. As soon as I chose it, it started giving me problems.

Firstly, WordPress did not allow a .com domain because I'm from India! I got thewordyhabitat.in which was nice enough but I wanted a .com domain.

Secondly, despite being on a paid plan, I had no freedom with my blog. The newly available theme options weren't good enough, I couldn't buy and install themes from elsewhere, I couldn't install plugins, and I couldn't make any custom changes to the blog structure. I soon felt restless and dissatisfied with the blog.

I highly regret getting the WordPress Personal plan. It is my biggest regret throughout my blogging journey. It was a waste of money. Since the domain was free for a year, I basically paid to remove ads from my site. It would have been better to wait and self-host.

I was torn about what to do. I didn't want to self-host halfway through and waste money. I was also stressed due to my internship, college, and the pandemic. I didn't have the brainpower, space, or time for self-hosting.

Hence, I decided to wait for a year and focus on my content. By the time the year finished, I would have graduated, finished with surgery for a health issue, and settled into my full-time job. That would be a good time to self-host.

I spent time applying SEO, realizing what content I like to write the most and what received more attention, and improving the quality of my posts by making them more readable.

A few months before the year ended, I was in a major blogging slump. The blog was too restrictive and I got frustrated because I had no freedom despite having a paid plan. So I decided to finally end the wait.

a cafe table with an open laptop and snacks. a wall print says "change is growth"

going to the next level: 2021-present

I looked into self-hosting and properly planned out my vision for over a month before spending the money. I looked at other blogs for inspiration, looked at my content to see what I wanted to carry forward, chose my theme, and planned my blog aesthetic.

Unfortunately, going self-hosted meant that I would lose all of my SEO ranking and traffic. I wasn't willing to pay WordPress extra to add redirection to the new domain on top of the new expenses. Since I was starting over, I decided to start over with my content as well. I considered changing the blog name but kept it in the end.

When most of it was planned, I paid a good chunk of money to Bluehost to be able to self-host for three years. I got the theme and spent 3 chaotic days setting the blog up like what I dreamed. I brought over a few posts from the previous blog as well.

thewordyhabitat.com was officially launched on February 19, 2021 with a launch post sharing my setup process and hopes for the new blog.

I loved the new look and freedom. I threw myself head-first into making amazing content. One of my first few posts blew up on search engines and was followed by more posts. Soon, this blog was doing much better than my previous blog with 4 years of posts and I stopped feeling sad about losing my content and SEO traffic.

The freedom kind of got to my head and I wanted to try whatever interested me. I set up a resource library in April 2021 with the idea of providing different resources that could be helpful to you. Although I stopped working on it as much after a year, it has quite a few good items.

After creating the resource library, I started sending monthly newsletters in June 2021. This blog was created with a very specific idea and I didn't want to publish random posts here. Hence, all of my life updates and random thoughts go in the newsletters now.

While the resource library is infrequently updated now, the newsletters are still going strong. I love writing small think pieces every month with reminders, suggestions, and positivity. It has replaced the "if we were having tea..." posts in my heart. My newsletter currently has over 600 subscribers!

2022 was the BEST blogging year for me with this blog hitting 400k views. That number looks impossible, honestly. It's wild that I reached it. You can check out my 2022 Blog Statistics post for the details. Although 2023's stats have dipped, it's not too bad. This blog is still doing quite well.

illustration art of an open laptop with "thewordyhabitat" written on the screen and a mug of tea kept next to the track pad on the laptop

Until going self-hosted, I had not monetized my blog. I hadn't even put up a "buy me a coffee" link. Now that I'm putting money into the blog, I decided to monetize it as well. I added tipping links and invited sponsorships. I started showing ads on the blog, removed them, added them, removed them, and added them again recently.

As of now, this blog has earned out and earned me extra as well.* I've earned back all the money I put into it for the last 3 years and am getting ready to sign up for longer. The amount is nowhere close to providing me enough to live on but it's a small extra sum that I can use to treat myself once in a while. Considering that it's a hobby, I'll take anything.

*Let me know if you want a detailed post on my blog expenses and income!

Immediately after self-hosting, the standard of my blog posts rose significantly. I make my graphics, spend days writing each post, and have almost a perfectionist attitude toward my content. I don't set myself to a standard that needs me working very hard but it's a standard high enough that I can't be lazy.

Since going self-hosted, the frequency of my posts has reduced and the length of each of my posts has grown longer. This post is already over 3000 words!

I choose to write posts on topics that I have a lot to say about. I've written a bunch of long discussion posts and exhaustive guides/how-tos. I write detailed reviews of books and dramas. My reading wrap-ups are over 3000 words sometimes! I could easily split it into individual book reviews but I don't unless I have a lot to say about the books.

When I used to post thrice a week, I would pour all of my words and hit publish as soon as it was a viable post. I could write three posts in a day. Now, I think about the structure of each post and plan out its content in prior. It takes me multiple days to write a post that I've already drafted.

I've gone so far into the "quality" side of the scale that my "quantity" of posts has severely decreased. However, I'm proud of every single post now so I don't mind it. Each of my posts is worthy of being shared multiple times and can be revisited and reread for a long time.

My discussion post on required reading took a long time to write but I received so many compliments for it from acquaintances in real life! It's worthy of being shared and talked out. That's what I want.

Every post is made of carefully curated content and adds value to my blog. Right now, this blog reflects my initial vision so well because of that. I had planned a blog where every post would be valuable and interesting. The blog has turned out exactly like that and I'm very happy about it.

illustration of a typewriter with paper loaded in it.

Lately, I've been thinking about the bloggers I've followed over the years. Almost every year, the set of people I follow changes. Some quit blogging with announcements, some took a hiatus and didn't return, and some simply stopped posting.

At random times, I think of a blog because of something and go to see it only to find that it doesn't exist anymore or that it doesn't have new updates. I've seen many active bloggers quit, even when they're in their teens.

Sometimes, I feel so old because the blogging space looks so different from when I initially joined. It's like I've seen several shifts in blogging. It went from a bubbling community to a barely active one. It's kept alive mostly by new bloggers and I see fewer every year.

Sometimes, I find the links of old blogs that I used to follow and read posts if it's still up. It makes me so nostalgic for the old days when I was part of an active community. As more bloggers that I know quit, it feels harder to make new friends. Who knows when they'll quit, who knows when I will?

It's also hard to connect with new bloggers because either they're teenagers and I feel too old to be talking to them outside of comments, or they're busy adults like me who don't go beyond replying to comments.

This section is a little sad but I just wanted to share that it feels a little lonely after so many years of blogging. I'm still blogging while many of the bloggers I started with don't post anymore. I still want to write on a lot of topics and publish helpful posts but I'm far more likely to stay friends with the few bloggers I already know or only make an effort if the other person is clearly open to conversation.

Despite all that, my heart still wants to go back to the old days when bloggers would often get together and create conversation chaos. I wanted to try and bring a piece of that vibe back so I set up the Blog & Chill Discord server in 2022. I mainly run it and organize the events and Clo and Sophia help me when I need it.

It took a while for it to settle and for a group of us to regularly get together and chat. Now, it's the only place where I see active conversations with a group and it makes me so happy. Here's the invite link if you want to join!

illustration of a workspace at home showing a desk with a monitor, keyboard, mouse on a mousepad, and a glass and spectacles. the wall behind the monitor has two paintings.

Over the past year, I randomly thought about when I will quit blogging. I don't have a specific date in mind and I am not close to quitting yet. I still have a lot of ideas to post. But while I couldn't think of not blogging last year, now, it feels possible.

It comes to mind only when I remember/see old blogs that are inactive now. Hopefully, the idea won't grab hold of me anytime soon. I want to finish 10 years of blogging and publish an updated post like this one then. For now, I've been trying to drive it away by blog hopping more and following new blogs.

It helps to want to continue when I hear from a few people, though.

Clo, you're my closest blogger friend at the moment, thanks for keeping your DMs open to me on all platforms and replying to my random messages on Discord. Thank you for always welcoming me when I join conversations and making an effort to include me in them.

Sophia, you're the only person who gets how old I feel in the blogging community (or you're the only person I talk to who has been around as long as/longer than me). You're also low-key my inspiration because you're still blogging regularly. Thanks for being a very chill person to talk to and helping when I need it.

Anoushka, you're the only newer blogger that I properly interact with. Thanks for always putting a smile on my face with your words. Sometimes, your comments/DMs alone make me write a blog post.


I've lived for about 25 years now and this blog is my biggest achievement. I learnt everything on my own, poured in a ton of effort, and made something worth being proud of.

Blogging has contributed to my person much more than one would think. It has shown me that my words matter and that what I say is valuable to others. For an introvert, it was the best kind of confidence booster. Without showing my face or speaking with my voice, I could put my opinions out there and make a name for myself.

I honestly credit blogging for making me confident. I don't think I would be this open to sharing my opinions at work without having done it previously with good results. I'm also much better at explaining things to a person with no context or specialized expertise because I've practised it here. There is a clear difference in my communication skills compared to that of my peers and it gives me a leg up.

Who would have thought that I'd start writing online to cope with finals stress and would eventually credit it for my success at work as a software developer? Not me, for sure.

illustration art of laptop, mug and a plant

chat with me!

What has your blogging journey been like? Do you relate to any of what I said above? Did you have any opposing experiences?

Is there anything you did early in your life that somehow helped you get where you are today? What are you most proud of in your life?

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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  • Kal @ Reader Voracious says:

    I loved reading about the various stages of your blogging journey, Sumedha! Eight years is a long time to do anything and I'm so thankful that you've stuck with it all this time!

    I remember similarly being BAMBOOZLED by the Paid WordPress plan. It's been five years and I am still pissed about it - you pay more money than with self-hosting and none of the freedom? What even is the point?! Even lamer that you couldn't get a .com name.

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      thank you, Kal!

      YEAH, it has ZERO upsides and i’m still fuming as well. i wonder if anyone really prefers it or all who try it are people like us who don’t know the whole set of features 🫠

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  • Vanya says:

    Congrats on your 8 years of blogging! I love your blog!

    Reply ➔
  • Clo @ Cuppa Clo says:

    "I don't want to end up with that regret of not living." - wow ok just like hold up a mirror to some of my thoughts I've had in the past. There's something precious about being able to reread our younger self's thoughts, seeing how far we've grown and for me I often think about how I wished I could tell my past self to be kinder to herself or reassure her that everything would be ok. I try and remind myself to live with no regrets, so if I'm faced with a choice, would an older version of me look back on this moment and wished I'd done 'abc' or 'xyz'. It helps when I'm stuck in decision paralysis. I totally get what you mean about wanting to share those thoughts and wishing to guard them because it's a time before we learn to filter things down or how to edit and rewrite sections so they're not overly personal and raw.

    I feel you on the part of missing the old days of blogging, although I started in 2017 I still remember the time where the community was active and I was more active in the community too. I definitely miss the chaos chats but I'm grateful to those years for gifting me with a group of blogging friends I still chat with now. I think the hardest thing can be to take the friendships off the blog to another platform sometimes, particularly if that person doesn't have a common social media with you? Your blog chats though on the Discord server are something I look forward to whenever you host them, they bring me so much joy to get to chat with ppl 'live' and we're all just chilling. Also love how you included me in the 'help you with the server' but we know it's Soph who does the helping and me who just slides in with reminders when I remember the time xD I'm more likely to break something and cry to Soph and apologise to you for accidentally clicking the wrong thing hahaha but I appreciate it.

    *squishes in a hug* My dms are always there for you and I will definitely try and like poke you more often but having you join Charvi and I's chaotic co-op sessions has been an absolute delight hehe. Love you and I'm forever thankful I found you via Twitter that time and fell in love with your content, if you ever do decide to quit blogging I will definitely still bug you though. Like...you can't escape me hehe. Soph is inspirational I very much agree there and Anoushka's energy truly brings a smile to my face. Her comments always make my day.

    My blogging journey I was very fortunate to find a community pretty early on like a few weeks into my journey. I don't think I would still be blogging without making the friends I've made and really putting in the effort to blog hop and connect with them. Since my reason for blogging wasn't as an outlet initially, it was to make friends. Having my own space was an added bonus but I don't know if I could truly give up my purple space now hehe.

    You're welcome for my long essay but I loved this post and happy 8 years of blogging - wild to think it's been that long. Time is weird period. Thankful to call you one of my close friends 💜

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      i’ve never really used “what will my future self be thankful for” to make decisions but i should! that would make a lot of things easier.

      oh i didn’t know that you started blogging to make friends! that’s interesting, for me it has always been a byproduct that i’m grateful for but something that i didn’t expect 😂

      i’m glad to call you one of my close friends as well 💜

      Reply ➔
  • Yesha says:

    Happy 8th blog anniversary! 🎉 It’s amazing you started blogging so early in life. I started blog at your age 😁but I started reading not long before I started blogging. Well, all that matters is doing something that becomes part of you and there lies all the joy. It was lovely to read your blogging journey. Here’s to many more years to come 🥂

    Reply ➔
  • abookowlscorner says:

    Congratulations on eight years of blogging, Sumedha! That's such an achievement and I loved reading about your journey that got you to this point.

    For me, it's really interesting how you can divide everything into such clear eras; I feel like my own path has been way more of a chaotic mess... 😂 Like, there was the time before my blog was publically available and the time after, but I feel like the only things that have really changed is that my graphics are slightly less awful than they used to be, that my writing has improved, and that my real life has gotten so chaotic that constantly seem to be going on impromptu hiatuses. When you talked about feeling like everyone your own age was so busy with work that they were blogging less, I really felt that!

    Still, I obviously totally get why you love this hobby so much, and I wish you many more successful years of blogging to come! Thanks for always sharing your insights with us <3

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      thank you so much, Naemi!!

      well it’s pretty easy to divide them because of specific changes that happened. if i was on the same blog for all 8 years, the post would be one big mesh 😂

      eh impromptu hiatuses happen, can’t tell the number of times i fell off the blog and returned only to realize that i forgot how to blog lol.

      whether we improve or not, the biggest point is that we’re still writing! cheers to that 🥂

      Reply ➔