You won't believe how much I tried to do in March. I went to bed tiredโ€”in mind, body, and soulโ€”every single day.

Freshly disappointed by my February, I decided to focus on each day in March. I wanted to do everything that I wanted to at least once. My idea was to keep some things constant and do others on a rotation basis. I didn't fully succeed but I am content with my March. There's a certain satisfaction that only comes from pushing yourself daily.

Because I tried to fit everything in and focused on the present day instead of the month or year as a whole, it feels like March was longer than 31 days. I have a lot to catch you up on. So, grab a drink or a snack and settle in.

words on books

As always, let's go through my reading first because it's the easiest section for me to write about.

I did not set a TBR for February and followed my mood. I read most of them in snatched bits of time like during my breakfast, my commute, or right before going to bed at night. It was a cosy and stress-free reading month.

I tried not to look at my number of books as well so the count is slightly lower. I read 8 books in March and most of my reads were great. 5 were paperbacks (my paperback reading is going up!), 1 was an audiobook, and 2 were ebooks. No rereads are part of the count because I read all of them partially and hence didn't mark them as a full read.

Poonachi: or the Story of a Black Goat by Perumal Murugan. I started the month with this interesting story that is translated from Tamizh. It reminded me of Animal Farm but was also unique to the Indian and Tamizhan experience, in a way. The whole time, I was sad that I wasn't reading the original Tamizh version because... unfortunately... I can't read the language properly despite it being my mother tongue ๐Ÿ˜ข But maybe one day! I'm looking forward to more of Murugan's work as well.

Cracked Foundation by Bex Dawn. I saw this being praised somewhere online in my 5 minutes of browsing on a random day and decided to try it. By the end of the book, I was so lost and taken aback. It had good parts, weird parts and a lot of nonsensical parts. It's a pure smut book with kinks that I had not heard of before. Not my thing.

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling. I haven't read the first book of the series but this was available on to me so I gave it a shot. It was a lovely light-hearted companion to my commutes. It had a good amount of magic, humour, romance, and suspense. I usually struggle to finish audiobooks but this was a breeze.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyแป…n Phan Quแบฟ Mai. It was high time that I read this book so I picked it up from the bookstore in January and got to it soon-ish. It was a book with many layers. It showed happiness, pain, war, tragedy, resilience, and more. There's a lot of triggering stuff but they're all to teach the reader about the Vietnam war. I learnt a lot of information. I liked that it was a slice-of-life book set in that time and didn't end with a moral or a conclusion. It showed how life was then and alludes to how it continues to affect lives.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I actually read this book five years back but didn't continue the series and forgot almost all of it. My friend loves them so she is lending me her copies one by one to get me to finally finish the series. The book was just as nice as I remember it being, I got the second book from my friend already and I'm excited to read it.

Unravel Me by Becka Mack. For some reason, I thought I read and disliked this book. But it came on my radar again and I realized that I didn't read this exact one (maybe that was a book of the same name by another author?) so I picked it up. It was an enjoyable read. Some of it was unrealistic (how is the guy such an angel with no flaws???) and we did not see the guy play hockey despite apparently being an amazing player. There was a buildup to the third-act breakup right from the beginning but the reason for the breakup turned out to be something else, surprising me. Overall, a pleasant read. If you like romance books where the guy plays a saviour and is always patient, kind, and helpful, you will like it.

In The Language of Remembering by Aanchal Malhotra. I finally got over my disappointment from The Book of Everlasting Things and read this and it was SO GOOD. It's a huge book (650+ pages) that is hard to read so I spent most of March slowly reading this. It's written in a unique format and is quite different from Remnants of a Separation. I liked how the book was about how the Partition affected subsequent generations because that's rarely documented about big events. It taught me a lot and spoke about suppressed events that have largely been erased from history. It was so interesting to read interviews from descendants of influential people of that time. The author addresses the current political and religious situation and how it colours the current young generation's views. She also calls out her biases and even unearths a large revelation about the terminologies we use for what happened in 1971. It is a great book, I highly recommend it. (Watch out for my review which I'll be posting soon!)

The Inheritance Games by Jeniffer Lynn Barns. I wanted something very different after In The Language of Remembering so I picked this up the next day which was a rest Saturday. I read most of it while lying on the bed and finished it in a few hours. It wasn't an amazing book but it did keep me hooked. It was full of puzzles and riddles. The characters were a little eerie, a lot suspicious, and highly interesting. I'm looking forward to getting the next book in my next bookstore run.

I also tried listening to the audiobook of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini but stopped at 23%. It was too long and the story was not interesting. I fell asleep twice.

words on the blog

March was a messy month for the blog. It was okay in the beginning and then, at some point, the Jetpack plugin got automatically updated and messed up my blog's fonts. It was blocking my site from loading Google fonts. Before I found out the cause, I got in touch with the BlueHost support and they fixed it by tweaking something else.

The next day, I realized that they fixed it by uninstalling the Jetpack plugin itself. So, my stats weren't loading in the WordPress dashboard. I contacted support again and that's when I found out the real reason for my fonts breaking and how they fixed it. The agent suggested using Google Analytics and MonsterInsights instead as they are better than Jetpack.

However, I quickly got annoyed because MonsterInsights doesn't show the daily stats info and most of its features are behind a paywall. The GA dashboard is highly annoying to go through as well. So, I just reinstalled the Jetpack feature and it seems to be working okay with a slight font change? I don't know.

The blog stats (in WP dashboard) also highly dipping for 5 days since all the above happened. I'm not sure if it's cuz of the changes or if it's because of something else. I didn't notice it sooner because I stopped seeing my stats much. When I finally noticed, I contacted BlueHost support again to get the blocking rules removed just in case. The fonts seem to be okay now.

I also noticed that my site's connection to Google Analytics was broken for 5 days because I had uninstalled Google Site Kit to install MonsterInsights. When I got annoyed with the latter and removed it, I forgot to reinstall the former. I finally did it on 30th March.

So, essentially, my stats for this month are scattered and messed up. For about a day, the blog stats are only on GA. And then when I reinstated Jetpack, GA stopped tracking. I don't care that much at this point sooo. It's okay. I did disable auto-updates for all plugins, though. I had kept it enabled only for 2 but now none of them have it enabled.

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

Another update, I finally got my ad provider to remove the annoying video ads on mobile views! It was annoying and led to multiple issues. I debated ending my contract with them completely but then got sidetracked in the middle when I noticed a different issue.

They also did some updates which made the video ad go away if you clicked the X button but the issue was back in a few days. I finally just emailed them with feedback saying that it's annoying my viewers and I'd like it removed, so they did it.

I was told that it was the highest revenue-generating ad placement for my site. However, because of the stats mess up, I'm unable to quantify the decrease yet. I'll have a look after a couple of weeks when there's enough consistent data.

My stats may also have been affected by some Google Helpful Content Update that happened recently that is affecting a lot of sites that get search traffic from Google. I heard about it from another blogger because they mentioned it in their newsletter. Google has been pushing out these random updates to make search results "better" but just.. affect everyone badly?

It's funny how Google rewarded some types of content for years so everyone upskilled in them and now with their "helpful content updates (AKA HCU)" and "core updates", they are penalizing the same types of content. Time for me to stop thinking about stats, I guess. I'm considering removing ads completely in a while because it is just inconvenient and the revenue isn't worth it anymore.

If anything's broken, please let me know! Because I realized only later that even my popular posts section at the bottom was broken ๐Ÿฅฒ

illustration of a typewriter with paper loaded in it.

I was hoping to post at least twice in March because I was so behind. But I managed it! I posted 5 times (including the Feb wrap-up) and am currently one post ahead of the schedule. In case you missed them:

  • My February wrap-up speaks of my disappointment with the month. Surprisingly, I motivated Bianca to post about their month despite it not being great through it. That felt great ๐Ÿ˜…
  • My Blog Income and Expenses in 3 Years. I'm aware of being a minority in the book blogging community because I've managed to monetize my blog. I always wanted to share my experiences and the numbers so here it is.
  • Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez is one of my comfort books and I finally wrote a review of it.
  • My 2023 Blog Statistics. I actually forgot about this until March and wrote it quickly. It speaks of how my relationship with blogging and blog stats has changed in the past year.
  • Ashes of You by Catherine Cowles is a new romance release that surprised me by being so good. I had to write a review on it.

At this point, I've published 16 posts this year (including this one) and I'm slowly running out of ideas. There are so many things to write about in the beginning of the year but the challenge is to continue having ideas when times change. I have a ton of ideas noted down but they're old and I was a different person then, so I don't feel like writing about them now.

Writing more full-length book reviews is helping but I want to write other posts as well. It's been a long time since I wrote discussions so maybe that? I could do guides or listicles too but I'm not sure of the topics. If there is anything that you'd like me to talk about, do let me know! It'll help me too ๐Ÿ˜‚

Meanwhile, I'm reading amazing blog posts by others:

words on my 2024 goals

My reading goal is going great, as usual. I'm at 35/100 books which is 11 books ahead. My blogging goal is also going great as I'm now at 16/25 blog posts. I'm not worried about these two goals.

A new dish has been added to my favourites list so I recently learnt how to make it from my mom. I am yet to make it myself without her help, though. I also finally learnt all the financial investment terms by attending an online class. Haven't taken any action yet but at least I can now understand exactly what people mean when they talk about investment in front of me.

There's no progress on my 10k running goal because I barely ran in March. Other types of workouts took over my days. I'm not disappointed with my status on the goal, though, since I'm having fun.

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.

words on life & other stuff

Summer has set in well. It's so sunny in the afternoons and 4 pm in my room is unbearable without curtains being pulled. The heat attacks us all day and we're unable to stay without AC or fan.

With the summer, dehydration has set in as well. Although I drink a considerable amount of water, it's not enough for this climate. My bottles are emptying in no time and it feels like I'm refilling them every time I drink water. For a week, I was dealing with badly chapped lips as well and noticed that many people around me were also picking at their lips.

I'm sweating so much nowadays, especially during workouts. After playing badminton for 30 minutes, my face and neck are covered with dripping sweat. It's as if I took a bath!

Speaking of, I joined a badminton group that plays in my court. Hence, I'm playing badminton much more now. I'm giving it my all as well and members of the group recently mentioned how I've improved a lot, especially that my reflexes are great. I played badminton 15 times in March. I'm highly enjoying playing. At random times during the day, I think of plays to try.

I worked out 30/31 days in March! I played badminton, ran, or just walked every day. Walking is a little easier because my commute to work 4 days a week requires me to walk at least 3kms a day. It's the other 3 days of the week that I have to consciously do something.

I was trying for 31/31 but it's hard and my body needed a break in the last week of the month. For almost the entire last week, my knees were hurting more. After 5 continuous days of badminton, I went on a steep climb with a friend. Then played 4 times again the following week. On the 30th, I ran 3km and that literally made my knees wobble. Then, I went cycling for an hour after years the next day. Basically, I'm putting my body through a wringer and asking it to manage it all.

Remember when I said that I went to bed completely tired every day? It's because of all the non-stop physical activities. I used to wake up around 7 am to a full day and couldn't stay awake past 10:30 pm. My brain and body would start winding down at 9:30 pm whether I wanted it to or not so it pushed me to read or do small chores at that time and go to bed.

It was nice to find out that my body can take a lot more than I thought it could, though. When I mentioned that my knees hurt for a week, it was mostly right after playing every day. It would be okay in a while and so I'd go the next day too as the pain wasn't constant. One day, I played badminton with more power in each shot rather than being strategic. By the end, my shoulder hurt and I was so sure that it would be hella sore the next day. But it was alright in a couple of hours!

Now that I'm exercising every day and making my body take on more, it's gotten used to doing more and healing faster. I was always the girl who'd pant and become tired soon and now I'm not that anymore. Love this for me.

In April, I'm going to fit in rest days. I'll try for a perfect month of everyday exercise later again. For now, it looks like my body is tired of me pushing it daily for badminton and then also walking (as I can't skip it) along with everything else. It's nice to have friends who are being more active and taking me along with them but I need to remember to rest in between.

My ideal routine would be 3 days of working out, a day of rest, and repeat. It should be evenly spread between badminton and running. I'll try to get there this month. It's important to rest as well, especially when I already have weak knees.

illustration of an outstretched hand with a to-go coffee cup floating above it

While the weekdays were almost solely for daily activities like work, workouts, reading, and chores, the weekends were for resting and having fun. I also blogged mostly on the weekends, writing posts in almost one sitting because that's when I have the time.

I didn't spend a lot of time outside with friends but I did enough. As I said earlier, I went on a climb with one friend. Another day, a few of my colleagues and I went to an event. One Sunday, we stayed at a restaurant from 6 pm until midnight. I met my book club friends as we do every month and it was so funโ€”we played board games, had good food, and laughed until we got tears. During a weekday, my team at work went out for dinner and drinks and had fun.

March wasn't filled to the brim but there was enough such that I was thinking about only the present and not worrying about the future. It feels great, to be present and try to make every day a good day.

One interesting note: because my routine and food intake are pretty consistent nowadays, I noticed what my body reacts to. After over a year of no refined wheat flour, I became a little lenient to that rule. I have a couple of bites here and there. I had maggi a couple of days in March after years and noticed that 2 days after both times, my eczema became worse. After a year of pretty good condition, I had a bad eczema flare-up. I woke up with blood and scratches on my arm twice, right after eating maggi.

So, I'm back to my no-refined-wheat-flour rule. I'll have a couple of bites if I want to try dishes and break the rule only for ramyeon because I love it and it seems to not cause an issue.

I journalled less in March because I couldn't find the time to journal every day. I journalled only 10 days which was mostly in the first 10 days. In the last 3 weeks, I journalled only on Fridays. Somehow, the night after a week of work is best suited to journalling.

chat with me!

I knew that I had a lot to say but I didn't think I'd write 3k+ words ๐Ÿ˜‚ I'm treating these wrap-ups like a diary of random updates. It's fun to write, though, and I hope you're enjoying them as well.

How was your March? What did you read? What did you do? What are your random life updates? What are you looking forward to in April?

photo of Sumedha

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

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  • Clo @ Cuppa Clo says:

    Ah I always love reading you long wrap ups and seeing what you've been up to in life! I'm glad you were able to push your body more in March. Although with the blog issues you were having sounds frustrating, least they were able to get rectified though. The Mountains Sing has now gone onto my tbr and I keep meaning to read An Ember In The Ashes - one day I'm sure I'll get there. March felt like a mixed bag well it was a mixed bag but amongst the rain were the rainbows: I found a new fav book in Sorcery of Thorns and at the end of the month I was travelling which was lovely. I've been playing a fair amount of Minecraft though haha, which has been really nice to just escape into that game. Hope your April is a more balanced one with rest in ๐Ÿ’œ

    Reply โž”
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Sorcery of Thorns is on my tbr.. although idk when iโ€™ll get to it ๐Ÿ˜‚ iโ€™ve been reading books very randomly lately and itโ€™s been fun. Hope your April was good to you!

      Reply โž”
  • abookowlscorner says:

    As a fellow monstrous random-diary-update-wrap-up writer, I wholeheartedly adored this! Seriously, I will gladly read more than 3k words if you're the one writing them - I love how your wrap-ups are so personal and always feel like chatting with a friend! ๐Ÿ’™

    Your March sounds insane, though ๐Ÿ˜‚ Between all that exercising and the blogging horrors - I think I would've just broken down and cried after so much going wrong, so I'm impressed and glad you've managed to work it out - I'm surprised you got any reading in at all. I really hope you eventually manage to learn how to read Tamizh - does it have a different script, or what makes it so difficult? I guess I've always taken being able to read in my mother tongue for granted.

    Also, The Mountains Sing sounds super interesting! As always, I'm thoroughly behind on my challenge of reading books from different countries, so I suppose that could be a good place to catch up! And I might have to use you as inspiration to finally finish the Ember in the Ashes series, too... I loved the first book but didn't like the next two much - fingers crossed you'll have a vastly different experience - so I've procrastinated on the finale for years.

    Also, yay on those annoying ads being gone! Trust me, it makes a HUGE difference! Although if it means you're going to lose a lot of money, I'm more than willing to put up with them!! Speaking of blogging issues, though - maybe it's just due to my own techincal idiocy (trust me, I wasn't kidding when saying your jetpack issues would've made me cry ๐Ÿ˜…), but I haven't been getting any notifications when you respond to my comments for months, maybe? I've been trying to do my best and keep track of which old posts of yours to check regularly, but I still feel like I might've missed out of some of your heartfelt responses - so sorry about that! ๐Ÿ’™

    Finally, thanks so much for sharing my post! I'm glad to hear you liked it! ๐Ÿฅฐ And have a great April!

    Reply โž”
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      ahh i'm so glad you loved this word dump! <3

      won't lie, i'm surprised i managed everything along with the ups and downs at work without breaking down. i think it helped because i was always just thinking about the current issues at hand and not the overall struggles? i've decided to completely terminate my contract with the ad provider after this month, too. it's giving too many problems and i do see that the revenue has reduced by 60% after removing those videos. but also, i don't care at this point? i've satisfied my curiosity that i CAN make money out of the blog and don't need to continue. i don't require the revenue. it just felt great to say that i could sustain the blog out of the blog revenue alone haha.

      on the jetpack issues, i've just given up at this point. guess what, after ALL THAT STRUGGLE, i opened wordpress stats dashboard today to find that Jetpack won't provide me with stats anymore because they've identified that i make money out of the blog. wow. their conditions for free services is that i don't have ads on my site, don't provide any services or sell products, don't promote businesses, and don't accept donations or sponsorships. fun ๐Ÿ™‚ i'll have to get creative for my stats post next year because the google analytics dashboard looks horrendous. jetpack misses sending proper notifications for self-hosted sites, it is true. thanks for going the extra mile to check for my responses ๐Ÿฅฒ i've seen bloggers completely remove jetpack and manage comments without it, i'm considering it now. will have to check how it works and the pros/cons

      on learning to read Tamizh. okay so, the Tamizh that we speak and the written language is almost completely different. because it's the oldest Dravidian language that is still being used in daily life (unlike Sanskrit, which no one really uses for regular communication anymore), we've come a LONG way in modernization. there are so many dialects and different pronunciations. my Tamizh is actually different from my cousin's simply because we grew up in different states, which are actually neighbours. we're 6 hours away but the way we speak is quite different. my Tamizh is also different from many others' because I'm Brahmin. i have like 5 Tamizh friends and only one of them speaks similar to me. but while we have tons of different spoken dialects, the written language is the SAME, and it's the old one. because of all the changes, the written language is so different from what i speak daily. the words used are different, and even if the words are same, in regular conversation we've shortened the words overtime but the written word is still the original one. combine that with the fact that i'm actually more comfortable with English and Hindi than Tamizh even though i speak it at home.. reading is super hard haha. i would have picked it up easily if i had learnt it as a child but because i had to learn to read English, Hindi, and Sanskrit in school, i didn't have time for Tamizh. plus, my state's official language is Kannada so i was also occupied by having to communicate in Kannada outside of my home. because i grew up with so many languages, i currently speak a mix of everything and speaking pure Tamizh doesn't come easy, let alone read it. one day, i'll get there, though.

      hope you have a great April too! ๐Ÿงก

      Reply โž”
      • abookowlscorner says:

        Gosh, the more you talk about all those issues, the gladder I am that I have thus far deemed myself too incompetent to even dream of self-hosting ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ™ˆ Like, seriously, they won't let you use the jetpack perks because you're making money off of your site??! How is that logical? I mean, I've disabled ads on mine, so it's not like they're making more off me than off you - right? ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ™„

        And that you so much about the in-depth Tamizh insights! ๐Ÿคฉ I find anything relating to languages totally fascinating, so this was exactly the kind of linguistics lesson I love getting! And it has also made me even more deeply impressed with your ambition to learn how to read Tamizh. I imagine it would be kind of like me trying to read stuff in Middle High German (the language mainly spoken here in the Middle Ages) - I took one semester of it in university, but despite that and it having a ton of similarities to modern German and English, I'd still be hopelessly lost if you gave me a text of it now...

        Reply โž”
  • Charvi says:

    I'm glad to see that you're doing great with your reading and blogging goals! Seems like you got a lot done in March and wow, it all sounds very physically intensive. You should definitely schedule more breaks for your body.

    Also, I loved Poonachi!! Hands down one of my favourite literary fiction books. I'm also looking forward to read The Inheritance Games, sounds like a fun ride and I've heard good reviews all around. I hope your April is even better ๐Ÿ’—

    Reply โž”
  • Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    There has been dip in my stats as well. I haven't figured out why so only reason I can pinpoint is it might be because of me being around less or lack of recent popular post. It can be pain in ass to fix things in selfhosted site. I hope you have great April.

    Reply โž”
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      yeah it seems to be affecting everyone? also, apologies if i missed some of your comments, it looks like they went to my spam folder?? this is what i get for not going through my spam regularly, they get deleted in 2 weeks if i do nothing.
      hope you have a great April as well!

      Reply โž”
  • Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

    It sounds like you had a busy March, exercising 30 days out of the 31 is impressive. Walking is definitely my favourite kind of exercise! ๐Ÿ˜
    I hope you continue to enjoy the Ember Quartet, the last two books were different to the start of the series but I really enjoyed them!
    I thought about reading Sleep in a Sea of Stars one time but it may have been a good choice to avoid it!
    Wishing you a lovely April and less problem with your blog data (it sounded stressful)! ๐Ÿฅฐ
    Thank you so much for sharing my post too ๐Ÿ’›

    Reply โž”