This time last year, I had just launched this blog and was still waiting to see if it would be received well. I knew that I had friends who’d love the blog but not everyone might like the switch to self-hosting and change in brand, you know?
I wish I could go back and tell myself that this blog was the best decision I had made. Going self-hosted amplified my motivation, gave me more freedom, and new avenues to pursue. Sure, I had a couple of low times, but this past year was my still blogging best year.
To celebrate, I asked for questions on Twitter. For a minute there, I was unsure* if I’d receive much but y’all came through with several!
Before moving on with this post, here’s a massive thank you for reading this blog and engaging with its content! I can post my words into the void but receiving responses makes them worth it and pushes me to do better. The Wordy Habitat is a habitat only because you’re here too <3.
*I may have been doing this for six years but I don’t think the insecurity about not receiving engagement ever goes.
- 1 bookish questions
- 2 blogging questions
- 2.1 how did you get into blogging?
- 2.2 what pushed you to pursue blogging over anything else?
- 2.3 did you ever consider switching over to other platforms?
- 2.4 favourite bloggers whose content you look forward to reading?
- 2.5 what’s a post you want to write but feel like you can’t (yet)?
- 2.6 if you were to exchange blogs with a fellow blogger, who would it be?
- 2.7 do you have a maybe unexpected source of blogging inspiration?
- 2.8 do you use Notion?
- 2.9 what tools do you use to better manage your blog or blogging schedule—basically, any time management secrets for fellow bloggers?
- 2.10 how do you manage your blogging schedule with everything that’s going on in your life?
- 2.11 what are your 3 favourite posts and why?
- 3 other questions
what is one of your favourite underhyped/not well-known books?
Drag Me Up by R. M. Virtues! Although the book and its author are receiving a tiny bit more traction now compared to last year, they deserve much more.
It is a Hades and Persephone retelling with great world-building, amazing characters, and an intense plot. It has a trans main character! Almost all the characters are Black! And all of them are absolutely gorgeous. You cannot convince me otherwise.
what have been some of your recent favourite romance reads?
Oh, I have many. I’ve been reading romance books like I won’t be able to read any of them soon haha. Here are some that stood out:
- Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne
- Enemies Abroad by R. S. Grey
- Tempest by Beverly Jenkins
- Cups of You by Karmen Lee
what’s a favourite book from a genre you don’t usually read?
Despite enjoying the few books I’ve read, I don’t usually go for mystery and thriller books. They’re addictive once I start reading them but I just don’t pick them out of several options. My favourite has to be The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner.
If I find Garder’s books in the bookstore, I buy and read them without hesitation. They’re never disappointing. The Other Daughter and Crash & Burn were also 5 star reads for me.
what’s the most books you’ve ever read in a year?
I definitely read way more when I was in school. Since I lived close to school, I didn’t spend much time travelling and could read a lot at home. It was also the time when I read all night regularly. I stopped doing that when I started college because of the schedule and travel requirements.
I started recording my reads on Goodreads only in 2015 (when I was in 11th grade) and 2015 was my best year with 232 books. Unfortunately, I did not do it before that. I’m pretty sure I read more before 11th grade. If I had to guess based on my unreliable memory, I’d say I read the most in 10th grade. I don’t know the number, though.
what’s your number 1 book recommendation?
I switch it up based on whom I’m recommending it to. It’s either The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon or The Poppy War by RF Kuang. I have been recommending the former for several years to everybody. It is literary fiction and would suit almost anyone so it’s a good choice. But if the person is more of a fantasy buff, I say TPW.
how did you get into blogging?
Combining this with the questions: What was the inspiration for your blog? When did you know you wanted to start blogging?
I did not know ANYTHING about blogging or having a blog. I thought that all the websites that came up in search engine results were owned by corporations and that individuals can’t have their own sites easily. I also did not know anything about WordPress and free blogging.
All that changed when I started posting reviews on Goodreads. When posting them, Goodreads shows a tiny box on the right saying “post this on your blog.” It led me to search “blog” and see WordPress, impulsively create an account, and try things out.
I never had an inspiration for my first blog nor did I actively consider starting a blog. It was a random thing that eventually became a huge part of my life. You can find out more details in the post on my blogging journey.
The inspiration behind this blog (thewordyhabitat.in) was an accumulation of what I liked best in my content. I liked that people found it friendly, I wanted it to be comforting, and I liked to be helpful. That was the starting point for my content brand.
what pushed you to pursue blogging over anything else?
I love almost everything about blogging but there is one specific thing that keeps me hooked on it. Atomic Habits by James Clear helped me pinpoint the exact reason through these quotes:
The way to maitain motivation & achieve peak levels of desire is to work on tasks of “just manageable difficulty”.
You need to regularly search for challenges that push you to your edge while continuing to make enough progress to stay motivated.
Blogging can be a simple or a complex hobby. We can start with content creation and add on new tasks one by one. Every single addition and skill learnt helps the blog grow. I love that.
Many of my friends don’t get this either but it is SO FUN to learn new things, apply them immediately, and SEE the results. How the blog grows is in our hands but it also works on external factors like what people are searching for and trends on the internet. It is several different pieces coming together. We can consider it all, come up with ideas, and write a good post that will interest strangers on the internet. There are very few hobbies that provide this specific set of challenges.
I absolutely love learning about SEO, applying it, and seeing the results within a couple of months. Making monthly reports for myself and seeing patterns between my actions, external factors, and blog stats are super interesting. Writing content that makes people go “this is actually well written” gets me going.
And the best part is that it never ends. It may seem overwhelming to some but I like that I can never stop improving. There is always more to learn and do. Most of it is achievable by anybody with the time and effort to spare. There is no way I can get bored of this hobby.
I pursue blogging over anything else because it feeds this nerdy, curious, and competitive side of me like nothing else. I’m just as enamoured by it six years into it, and you can be sure that I will continue to be for a long time if not forever.
did you ever consider switching over to other platforms?
I never considered switching over completely to other platforms because of what I mentioned before. The only platform that comes close to blogging is YouTube but I highly prefer written content over video content so it never stood a chance. I did give it a go back in 2020 but I couldn’t stick to it because it didn’t interest me as much.
There is also the fact that we don’t truly own the content on other platforms. Since most are a form of social media, the platform can regulate our content based on their wish. Instagram can penalize us, YouTube can take our videos down, etc. but blogs are owned by us. We have full control over it.
I will never want to give up this kind of freedom.
favourite bloggers whose content you look forward to reading?
I follow bloggers across niches for a myriad of reasons. Here are some of my favourites across the reasons:
- Chapters of May – I love Anika’s content and the vibe. Her blog was one of my biggest inspirations when I was planning this blog.
- Little Sips of Tea – her blog posts are like lifestyle vlogs on YouTube. I love the vibe and personalization. It reminds me of the time I followed mostly lifestyle bloggers who blogged about their life.
- Pages and Coffee Cups – Riza maintains her blog aesthetic flawlessly throughout. Opening a post of hers immediately clues me into the vibe and the blog that I’m in. I aspire to be that good.
- Fly(er) on the Wall – Ena’s writing style and content is quite different from what I generally see in the book blogging community. It’s where I go when I was something different and content that will make me think.
- Thoughts Stained with Ink – Nicole doesn’t skimp on writing discussion posts and I love how she writes each of them. Her posts make me write paragraphs in the comments.
- Emma Reads – I discovered Emma’s blog recently. Her posts are so funny and her personality shines through in her words. I wish my blogging voice was that distinctive.
- Cuppa Clo – when I feel like I just want to catch up with a friend, I read Clo’s blog posts. They’re always long, thoughtful, and friendly. And since she’s actually my friend, it works well.
- Merry of August – for lifestyle advice posts and blogging tips, Merry’s blog is great. I started loving her blog because of the treasure trove of blogging info which got me started on improving my blog beyond content.
- Bookshelf Soliloquies – for the books that I wouldn’t come across otherwise. Lay’s reading tastes are so different compared to mine and I like that. One day, she’ll get me to pick up a book totally out of my comfort zone so I never miss her posts waiting for that book.
- Jenny in Neverland – Jenny is a huge blogger in the community and blogs about several topics. I try to not skip her posts on life and personal growth. She introduces me to things I’ve not come across before which can improve the way I live.
It is my opinion that we should keep company reflecting all the parts of ourselves. This quote from The Belle and the Beard by Kate Canterbary puts it perfectly:
But my life has many facets and the people I spend time with should be reflective of that. I can’t throw myself all in one direction and still expect to feel whole.
The book was talking about relationships in real life but I believe it can be applied to anything. Especially the content that we consume and the people whom we look up to. My blog may be niched down now compared to a couple of years back but the content that I consume will always be varied according to all my interests. And I think it comes through in the list of my favourite bloggers above.
what’s a post you want to write but feel like you can’t (yet)?
Twitter marketing for book/hobby bloggers. I have been consistently promoting my content on Twitter for over two years now. In that time, I’ve experimented and made several observations. I noticed a bunch of patterns last month and am experimenting with something even now.
I think I can write it someday because of the information that I have and the returns that I see. Last week, I got 195 referrals to my blog from Twitter. It may not be groundbreaking but it is a considerable amount.
There are more reasons why I think I can’t write it, though, and they’re holding me back.
- I feel like I don’t know enough. I’m always experimenting and trying new things so I never have a consistent strategy. I can’t tell what works in the long run. And I feel like there’s a ton I don’t know anything about.
- All of the info is in my head. I haven’t noted anything down. I forget the exact reasons but they’re a factor in how I do things and I’m unsure if I can write them down well. Even if I can write them all down, I don’t know if I can structure them properly in order to make a good guide.
I’ve wanted to write a guide on Twitter marketing for a while but I’m not confident enough yet.
if you were to exchange blogs with a fellow blogger, who would it be?
Ooh, super hard question. Exchanging blogs would be hard with almost anyone because there will be audience, content, and aesthetic differences.
The only blog I can think of is Jenny’s blog Jenny in Neverland because her content is not restricted like all the other blogs that I can think of. Her blog has an audience I envy and is well-established despite the fact that her content is not niched. I’m in awe of that actually.
But I will admit that my blogging voice will not suit her blog and content. I’d rather just keep my blog.
do you have a maybe unexpected source of blogging inspiration?
Hmmmmmmm. I get ideas by consuming content from other niches. It is one of the reasons I read content that does not relate to my content categories. It’s weird but sometimes inspiration strikes when I read/watch something completely unrelated.
For example, I wrote my post on writing blog posts using Notion after looking at a study YouTuber’s Notion tour. It is a little bit related but we’re in different niches and the resulting idea was different.
My post on social media for bloggers was a result of reading a blog post on SEO. There were a few lines on how social media links help SEO and I started thinking how else social media is or is not important. Hence, the blog post and discussion.
Reading blog posts of other niches also helps because I get ideas about how that post concept can be used for my categories. I do follow a couple of beauty blogs as well because that part of the blogging community has really good content too. Those good ideas can strike inspiration for book blogging.
do you use Notion?
I do! I started using it over a year back and it has completely changed the way I manage my blog. Although I set up pages for multiple areas of my life, I only actively use the blogging space.
It was a struggle to store and manage all of the different information in my head and tasks that I should be doing. Notion, with its flexibility and features, is perfect for my requirements. I love all the aesthetic Notion workspaces that I see online but I simply don’t have the time to make mine look very good. Also, the visual elements take my concentration away. Hence, my setup is only concentrated on helping me with the blog.
I made a Notion tour video a long time back if you want to see it but it has changed quite a bit since then. Let me know if any of you want another tour because I’d actually love to geek about my Notion setup.
what tools do you use to better manage your blog or blogging schedule—basically, any time management secrets for fellow bloggers?
Firstly, tools! I use a bullet journal to manage all the things in my life including scheduling when to work on the blog. Some people keep separate managing tools for different things but it never worked for me. I like to see all that I have to do in one place.
To manage the entire workings of the blog, ideas, maintenance tasks, branding cheat sheet, etc., I use Notion as I explained above.
And that’s it. I don’t use anything else to manage the blog because it will become information spread across places and I’d spend my time trying to put everything together in my head. I did try Todoist because I heard good things about it but it didn’t work for me.
Some time management “secrets” that help me every day:
- Keep less information in your mind. I am not perfect at this but I am much better at it now and it helps a lot. All my ideas, research, and branding guides are on my Notion. I also keep a specific area in Notion for monthly reports where I dump how my blogging month was, how it reflected in stats, if there are any new revelations or observations, and what I want to focus on next. Removing all that from my brain helps me focus on actually creating good content.
- Don’t force yourself to follow anyone else’s footsteps. I’m mainly talking about managing your blog. The systems that work for someone else may not work for you, what they do to grow their blog might not help your blog, and you might have to carve your own path. But following what works for you will save your time because you won’t be wasting it on doing something else. For example, I’ve heard that batching tasks saves a ton of time. That is true but it does not work with my creative process or lifestyle. When I tried batching, I just wasted time.
- Experiment! You will not know what saves most of your time until you try everything. For example, I kept reading that Pinterest requires a ton of time and effort to show results. I got discouraged because I can’t put in that time without compromising elsewhere. Recently, I started putting in the time that I can and it is helping! Try different things and see what gives you the best results in the time that you can spend on your blog.
- Set priorities. If you are doing multiple things for your blog like me, priorities can become confusing. It becomes easy to complete one thing and neglect others. Save your time by setting priorities in advance so that you don’t have to make decisions on the fly and mess up. Every week, I know that I have to post something new. I rearrange my other tasks around it.
how do you manage your blogging schedule with everything that’s going on in your life?
By setting priorities. This takes away all the decision making and makes my life easier.
My real life and health is always my first priority. If my eyes are strained and red, I restrict screen time. If I have adulting things to do, I work my blogging schedule around them. If I’m going for a walk every morning, I wake up a little earlier to get a little bit of blogging done before that. I don’t mind pushing my posting schedule by a day or two, or skipping a week if it helps keep my real life in balance. In the end, I know that this blog is a hobby and I treat it that way.
Blogging comes second to only my life and health, and that is what helps me fit blogging in my schedule. I mentioned above that my blog is a hobby and I treat it that way but when compared to other hobbies, I tried my blog as my job. If I have to choose how to spend my free time and I’m feeling productive, I pick blogging over other things.
If I have to skip watching a movie with my friends or not watch any new shows on Netflix, I’m good with that. Because blogging is such a huge part of my life, I don’t mind giving priority over things that I can miss and not care about.
what are your 3 favourite posts and why?
10 Reading Challenge Ideas – This is a favourite because I tried a different kind of bookish post for the first time. I generally do recommendation lists so this was new and exciting. I really liked coming up with ideas for it and writing the post.
How to Make Your Blog Posts More Readable – I’m very proud of this one because the information is helpful, I’ve formatted it well keeping in tone with the post’s advice, and I have something new to share in it that I don’t see others talk about on the internet. It is not a popular post but it is one that fits my content brand. Helpful, easily readable, and touches of uniqueness.
Sky Castle Kdrama Review – Sky Castle is one of my top Kdramas and I procrastinated on writing a review for the longest time. I finally wrote the review after a rewatch with a friend and on his insistence. Writing about something I love is hard because I want to do justice to every part of it. This is one of my favourite posts because I think it matched the standard in my mind.
what is your MBTI type?
The first time I took the test in 10th grade, I was an INTJ. When I took it again in 12th grade, I was an INFJ. Until the end of college, over a year back, I remained INFJ. But I took the test again recently and got INTJ!
I definitely agree with the results. I felt seen the first time I got INTJ. Later, INFJ’s description totally matched my personality. And now, I agree that I’m back to INTJ and am a better version of who I was in 10th grade.
Since I’m an MBTI geek too, tell me your MBTI type in the comments! I’d love to know.
what are your current favourite songs?
- Colorblind by Mokita. I was drawn to the song because of the comforting notes. But now, after I actually listened to the lyrics, it tugs my heartstrings.
- Come to Your Senses by Alexandra Shipp and Vanesa Hudgens. Why did we not know that Alexandra Shipp can SING?! After I heard this song while watching Tick, Tick… BOOM, I immediately started listening to it on repeat.
- Last Chance (Alt Version) by CHPTRS. CHPTRS have some really good songs. Tracks of theirs have been becoming my favourites one or two at a time. This song has remained in my current favourites for the longest time, excluding Write My Name (Alt Version) by CHPTRS.
what’s a snack or food combination everyone should try?
This is a snack that my mom and I cooked up back when I was in school. I really liked Frankie rolls and after I told her that, we tried making it at home. But of course, we did not have all the ingredients. After substituting almost everything, this is what remained – a chapati with ketchup spread on it, rolled and filled with cut raw onion, dices raw tomatoes, cut cucumber, and Haldirams Cornflakes Mixture. We’d also add other things on hand like coriander, fried potatoes, and mixed rice.
It basically became a shoddy version of a burrito. It does not resemble the Frankie that I initially liked but it turned out to be good! If you have chapati at home and don’t want to cook sides for it, try this. It’s easy, it’s crunchy, and it’s tasty.
what is your all-time favourite drama and why?
It is so hard to choose one! I have a few favourites for different reasons but if I had to pick only one it would be While You Were Sleeping. It was my first Korean drama and has cemented itself in my heart. While I do love other dramas like Sky Castle and School 2015: Who Are You, none have upstaged WYWS.
It is my all-time favourite because it evokes all the feelings that I want when watching a drama. It is funny, heart-warming, sad, and happy. If I had to watch only one show for the rest of my life, While You Were Sleeping would keep me content.
what’s your favourite TV show of all time?
Since I already answered for the dramas, I’ll exclude dramas as a part of this question. My favourite TV show of all time is Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’ve watched it about 3 times so far and I can continue to watch it forever. I like that it is funny all the time, it does become serious when handling significant topics, and it has a really good romance. B99 has the only office romance that I’ve ever loved.
It is not perfect. There’s a ton of fat-shaming (it is a running joke throughout), and other comedic elements shouldn’t have been used. But when I need a quick laugh, I watch a random episode of this show.