July was a long and a short month at the same time. Looking back on it as a whole, I'm not sure what I did but I know that I did a lot. Does that make sense?

I think I will realize the full extent of my month only once I start talking about each aspect of life in this wrap-up. Let's get to it!

words on books

July saw me read FIFTEEN books out of which two were not romance. Although I have no shame in reading romance books, I try to read from other genres as well.

I've been trying to read at least one non-fiction book every month for the past few months but I wasn't able to follow through in July. There were a couple of other books that I've been reading for MONTHS and finishing them felt like a big enough task. I started a non-fiction book related to my career but I didn't make much progress on it. I am a little disappointed that my non-fiction reading streak broke but oh well.

My best books of the month were:

  • The Annihilator by RuNyx. This is the fifth book in the Dark Verse series and honestly went past my expectations. I loved it and I can't wait for the series finale!
  • A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall. I listened to an audiobook after a LONG time and this was a great choice. I loved the book with all its representations and intricacies and deep-delve into emotions. I did not like the amount of repetition of the conflict between the couple, though.
  • Gothikana by RuNyx. I needed to read more addicting books by the author and Gothikana was SO GOOD. It captured the intended vibes brilliantly and brought the spookiness to life while also delivering an addicting romance. My only complaint is that it follows a predictable romance trend where the woman is accepted with all her flaws and the man leaves his life for her but she doesn't sacrifice anything for him. It's very.. unrealistic and promotes unhealthy expectations of a romantic relationship.
illustration of a person holding up a book with their hands

Other notable reads of the month:

  • The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri. Oh. My. Goodness. This book took me THREE months to read and I felt EVERY MINUTE of it. While I liked the world-building and the concept, I had several issues with the book.
    • I absolutely hated how slow-paced it was. I hate slow-paced books in general and this was worse than most of them.
    • I did not like that 90% of the book is a build-up to the last 10% which is, in turn, a buildup for book 2. I know that it is common in books but it is generally done better. We are supposed to get some climax, twist, or satisfaction from reading every book. We should be happy to read and continue even just 30% in. But this book was basically saying "read just a little more! it'll be worth it!" for the entire book. And it wasn't worth it until the end.
    • I did not like the romance and would have been completely fine if it did not exist. I somehow couldn't see the chemistry or bond between them. I couldn't root for them.
    • Safe to say that I will not be continuing the series.
  • How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee. This is another book that I've been technically reading for months. I started it over 4 months back and abandoned it about 50 pages in. After gathering up the courage to finally finish The Jasmine Throne, I decided to finish this as well in the same stride. It was pretty good, honestly. I wouldn't say that it's a favourite but I did learn quite a bit of history through this. I was unaware of the intricacies in Singaporean history during World War 2 before reading this.

Overall, July wasn't a great month in terms of favourite reads but it was good enough.

For August, I have no reading goals. I'm reading what I can with the time I have. I want to make progress on the non-fiction book I started but I'm not sure if I'll actually get to it since I started another course as well, though

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

words on the blog

In my May wrap-up, I mentioned that I wanted to get back to writing posts for the heck of it and not worry about them being "helpful" or "valuable." But surprisingly, it turns out that the blog posts that I want to write are helpful, they're just not exactly what people search for on search engines.

When I thought about topics that I've been wanting to write on for a while, I landed on my blog aesthetic. So, I planned and wrote a post explaining how I created my blog aesthetic. I was so happy with how the blog post turned out even though I wasn't sure if it'll get good feedback. And it did really well!

I was happy to know that blog posts like sharing my processes and experiences are still loved instead of a proper guide. It basically lit a fuse in me and I wanted to write another post about a process of mine. I put a quick poll on Twitter and chose to write about my SEO strategy based on the results.

Writing the post took me several days of planning and writing but became a product I am super proud of. The only thing was that I couldn't add detailed examples using my blog posts. It would have become over 10k words and that was simply too much for a blog post.

After a little brainstorming, I decided to make it a separate resource in my resource library. But once I started creating the SEO case studies, I realized that I had a lot of good information that would be worthy of a paywall. Especially since it included information that most bloggers generally DON'T share.

And that's how I decided to create my first ever paid product online. I spent almost a week planning, writing, and editing the resource. It was the most time I ever spent on one piece of content. The last few days of work before making my SEO case studies live were stressful but I powered through. It is the BEST piece of content I've created so far.

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

In the midst of all of that, I also wrote a super long mid-year check-in post while also keeping up with my twice-a-month newsletters.

I've been slowly getting better at choosing newsletter topics and writing my opinions while making it personal and also like a discussion. I still have a long way to go but seeing the response becoming a little better with every edition encourages me. My last newsletter about sharing processes online is the best-performed one in the last few months and I'm super proud of the content I wrote for it.

All-in-all, July was a month of creating good content driven purely by my passion. I made the effort to schedule in time for it and it was worth it. I love the work that I produced in July.

It helped that my statistics all over were great. That motivated me to create content even more.

  • This blog hit 40k page views in a month for the first time ever. July has been the best month in views so far.
  • I also saw an uptick in engagement because of the nature of my new posts. Receiving so many likes and comments made me overjoyed.
  • The newsletter crossed 400 subscribers as well! As I'm writing this, the number is 421 which is pretty unbelievable.

In August, I want to continue making content that I'm passionate about and take my time writing them. Spending a little more time on blog posts is definitely worth it, even if I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be.

words on social media

In my mid-year notes, I spoke a lot about social media and where I see myself going with Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Writing that post somehow helped my motivation to have a better presence on Twitter so I started tweeting more and sharing updates. I'm having fun with the platform again instead of worrying about whether people want to see everything that I share. I post stuff and move on. And honestly, it has improved my relationship with the platform while also pulling my engagement up!

Sure, some of my tweets are dead and receive no engagement but it's okay. Some work and some don't, and some work only at the right times. I can't be perfect but I can just keep going and hope for the best.

I'm also trying to be a bit more active on Instagram after switching to a new phone (more on it later). I posted a total of 8 photos in July which is quite a bit more than in the past several months. I'm also sharing whatever I want to instead of restricting myself to bookish or art content. I'm, again, playing around and just having fun. I'm still not that motivated for Instagram due to it's changes and the updates from the Instagram team about future plans, but I'm a smidge more active there.

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

The social media platform that has been working the best is Pinterest. After forgetting about the platform for a while, I started being consistent on Pinterest again. The efforts of my consistency at the beginning of July are showing up NOW, a month later. Pinterest is a long game which requires consistency and patience. But it is worth it, in time.

For August, my goal is to be active on the three platforms without spending too much time on them. I can keep up with Twitter and Pinterest up to an extent but the problem area is definitely Instagram. I need to get back into the groove of taking pictures.

words by other bloggers

Somehow, I spent quite a bit of time blog hopping in July too. Whenever I found myself needing a push to write, I would read blogs to get my words flowing. Because of that, I caught up on my favourite blogs and more. Here are some of my favourite posts from the month:

words on life

As if reading, all that blogging, and social media weren't enough, I had a BUNCH happening in real life as well. There were taxes to deal with, office to go to, socialization, and sports to play. I made a little more effort to be physically active in July because it is high time I do it regularly.

Two major things happened in July, though. I left my Samsung M30s and switched to an iPhone for the first time ever. I spent a lot of time considering and reconsidering buying an iPhone—mainly due to the price. It is way more expensive than any phone I have owned so far. I've also always used an Android phone so I wasn't if I'd like iOS as much.

But then, I already had an iPad and a MacBook. Getting an iPhone would complete the ecosystem and make things much smoother. I also really wanted a better camera. My old phone's camera sucked which made me not want to capture photos of my life, let alone for my Instagram. I wanted a good camera to record moments of my life especially since I'm doing capture-worthy things this year.

So yeah, I finally went ahead and bought the iPhone 13. It's been a couple of weeks so far and I'm quite loving it. I'm still not fully used to it but figuring out a new phone is one of my favourite parts of switching phones. And I'm very happy with the camera.

Before I switched, my average phone screen time was around 3 hours a day. Two days before buying the iPhone, it was 39 minutes. Yes, 39 minutes in the entire day. That's how less I used my phone. Partly because I don't like using my phone too much, partly because I didn't use it to take photos much, and mostly because I just didn't want to use the phone for anything. I would use the laptop or iPad for most things.

Since getting the new phone, my screen time has increased. Right now, the average is 4 and a half hours and I'm sure it'll go down a little as the novelty wears off. But I am loving it for photography and browsing as well. It is one of the reasons I want to be more active on Instagram again—I just want to use the camera, haha.


At the end of the month, I went on a weekend trip and it was really fun! This year, I've been to more places than I've been to my entire life until last year. I'm fully taking advantage of having some spare budget and people to go with. Oh and I was able to take great pictures with my phone this time ?

This time, we went to a couple of smaller places in our state. I have to say, I didn't think about touring my state much before this trip but I've since realized that there are so many cool places to visit. For every place I visit, I add twice the number of destinations to my mental list of places to tour.

I would not have pegged myself to like travelling considering how much of a homebody I used to be. I'm surprising myself (and all my friends) this year.

chat with me!

How was your July? Did you take a break or vacation? Did you do anything new? Did you love any new books? 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 ➔

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  • Lovely says:

    The Annihilator sounds like a great read. Yay for your new phone.

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  • Kal @ Reader Voracious says:

    I feel you on July being both long and short, it was such a weird month for me! I am so impressed with all the reading you got done last month and hope that's continued (and my goodness friend, DNF!) this month as well.

    I'm trying to reevaluate my relationship with social media and it's just. I hate that you have to be constantly ON to not be suppressed by the algo

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      thank you, Kal! and exactly on social media and being on all the time. recently a reel has been going around with the audio “everything is content so record everything” and it further makes it shitty because we need to start LIVING instead of recording every time we breathe.

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  • Simona ~ The Grumpy Olive says:

    We had a very slow July, but that helped us gear up for the coming months so not moaning too much about it! Gotta get those SEO case studies, I loved your post on SEO and can't wait to read more!

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  • ahaana @ Windows to Worlds says:

    I'm sorry you didn't love the Jasmine Throne - I've just been hearing good things about it, so it's nice to see another point of view, but now I'm slightly apprehensive to start because I don't ~love~ slow paced books either. I hope you love taking pictures on your phone hahaha - I've not used anything other than an iPhone before and genuinely the AMOUNT of pictures I take means my phone's out of storage like 90% of the time ? I hope you have an amazing August! ❤️

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      i used up only about 64gb on my old phone over years of usage so i was going to get 128gb but my friends convinced me to get the 256gb version at the last minute. let’s hope i take enough good photos and make use of it haha. thank you! hope you have an amazing August as well <3

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  • Resh Susan says:

    Wishing you many wonderful photos on your new iphone. x

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  • abookowlscorner says:

    Gosh, finally, someone else who wasn't impressed by The Jasmine Throne! ? I'm not sure if my issues with it are entirely the same as yours - I mainly hated the writing style and how little character depth there was - but still! Every other review I've seen seems to be super positive, and I just don't get why!

    Those Instagram pictures are gorgeous, though! I'm extremely jealous of where you live! ?

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Same! The reason I pushed myself to finish TJT and give it way too many chances was because of the reviews. But it looks like the negative reviews got overshadowed by the praise.

      Thank you! Now that I’m travelling a bit, I’m also realising how beautiful my state is.

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  • Pooja Mahimkar says:

    You have accomplished so much in a month! Congratulations!
    For me, the goal for August is simple, workout at least 30minutes a day!

    Reply ➔
  • Clo @ Cuppa Clo says:

    Your photos on instagram have been giving me so much serotonin, particularly the pretty nature landscapes! My July was very hot thanks to a heatwave we had and I ended up being in London for 2 of the hottest days. I was a melted mess on those two days but my trip to London was still fun. Books wise I did finish one book on my journey to London and started another whilst I was down there. I'm tentatively hoping my reading motivation is coming back.

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  • Jocelyn says:

    staying on top of social media is honestly SO DIFFICULT for me. I always say that I'm going to tweet more from my blog account and then I don't end up actually doing it

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  • melanniease says:

    I am so glad I found you and the this blog in the early stages considering I am a total newbie to blogging. Reading about your process and experiences with wordpress(blogging in general) taught me a lot of things which otherwise I would have had to google multiple topics to understand.
    I look forward to the newsletters you send out and my favourite is the one about community with a sprinkle of your take on relationships. You inspire me to write even more than ever. Way to go Sumedha!. P.S I still use the Samsung M30s and I admit that it makes me not want to capture photos of my life haha

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Ahh thank you so much, Melannie! I’m glad I could help. Although you’re a newbie now, I’m sure that your blog will be great in short time and I can’t wait to witness it.

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