Goals for 2021

Happy New Year!

Since 2020 definitely did not go as planned, I decided that this year I wanted to create some more realistic goals given our current state and circumstances.

I’m hopeful and excited for this coming year. I’m grateful that my family, friends, co-workers and cast-mates have remained safe during this pandemic. I’m truly thankful. By the end of the year it was all I wished for.

Reading Goals

Last year I completed my reading goals twice! I haven’t set my goal for this year but I think I’ll increase it somewhere to about 60 books, since I reached my goal of 30 two times. I tend to adjust an extra 5 books when I’m ahead of schedule. In just these past 3 days I’ve read 5 books. I haven’t been on a reading binge like this since…maybe high school?

On top of that my other goal is to read more diversely. This means finding new favourite authors in the genres I adore. I’ve already got a list of recommendations thanks to my lovely BookTuber/Bookstagramers along with the list I’ve compiled on my own. I’m really excited to check out all of these books!

I would also love to discover some new authors this year. As I am publishing my first novel myself, I’d love to see other’s work too and support it!

Lastly, I want to be accepted for more ARC reviews. I got my very first one of the year and I can’t wait to do more!

Writing Goals

Now onto my writing goals. Normally I don’t create a set goal of how many books to write in a year, however I think this year I’d like to try it. I think that I’ll try to officially complete 3 of the novels I’ve been working on over the years. By officially complete I mean have them heavily edited and cleaned up for publication. This seems like it’s a reasonable goal.

Other Goals

I’d like to post more on this blog and on my YouTube channel. I personally prefer blogging but I’m bad for creating music or other content for YouTube and not posting it. I’ll try to be a little more consistent with that this year, although I don’t know if I’ll create an uploading schedule or anything. It depends.

I’d also love to accomplish more on my list of voice over goals. I actually managed to meet some of them during 2020 which was a huge surprise, especially since the industry was shut down. The projects I contributed to were fantastic and I learned so much while working on them!

Another thing that I want to do this year is be a little more active. I used to be fairly athletic but stopped on and off during university. With the work that I do I find I’m either sitting or standing in one place for long periods of time. So, this year I think I’ll work on getting back into shape. Exercise helps me feel better and makes it easier for me to think. It’s great for relieving stress!

I also want to learn at least 3 new recipes. I haven’t decided what yet. Something yummy!

I’d like to get better at embroidery and draw more this year. It’s really calming.


Saying Goodbye 2020

In a couple of days we’ll be saying goodbye to 2020.

I would say this year most of us were like Cinderella before she met her fairy god-mother. Or Rapunzel perhaps? I never thought I would ever compare myself to a lonely damsel, living a sheltered life…and yet, here we are.

I can honestly say that I did not reach very many of my goals for the year. I spent my birthday in lock down along with every holiday that followed. However, I’ve tried to make the most of it. I wrote, I learned some new songs on the guitar, I recorded a play and an audio book, I played games online with friends and family. I even reached my reading goal for the year…twice!

This year has so much heaviness attached to it, that I would love for it to vanish from existence but part of me also appreciates the time I’ve had to reflect on the world around me.

Books have always been my escape from reality.

As a child, they stopped me from feeling lonely when I started at a new school (for the 3rd time) and I got older, I read to keep my sanity during the days of high school drama, exams and rainy afternoons.

Reading brought me a sense of freedom and joy. It allowed me to explore and open myself up to infinite possibilities.

Now during 2020, I’ve come to realize how books have played such an important role in my life. Whether I was reading them or writing them, they acted as a security blanket, that I could clutch as I fell asleep at night.

When I needed something to hide behind, books were there. When I woke up from a nightmare, I could grab a book from my nightstand and read until my my heart stopped racing. There were even times when reading stopped my heart from breaking. This year, it connected me to new people: people who were new to reading, people who loved the same books I did and people who simply wanted anything to read because they too wanted a temporary distraction from all the pain in the world.

I’m not sad to see 2020 leave us. I can’t say I’m all that enthusiastic for 2021. Hopeful yes…but until my fairy god-mother appears, I won’t be stepping out in a pair of glass slippers. Instead I’ll stick to my pajamas and stay in to read a good book.

Oh No! I Messed Up My Prompt for the 9th!

Today I was supposed to write a song about one of my character’s, which I did haha and am debating on sharing it today. I’m thinking that I’ll probably redo the recording of the song and post that later this weekend.

I suppose in the meantime I’ll share the rough version I did today. I warn it is very rough! It’s also in two languages…English and the language some of my character’s speak in the series. I will be sure not to sing and record while half awake next time haha.

Okay so apparently I can’t upload it on here right now…so I’ll be posting it to Soundcloud temporarily! I’ll replace it with a better version on YouTube.

Oh…so I have no more space on Soundcloud. Uh…

Well um…this isn’t going as planned. I was supposed to post this at 10 am to begin with but I was at work. Err…Um…change of plan.

I will post the song tomorrow once I get everything sorted. Sorry about that! In the meantime I’ll be completing my drawing for the day, which you can watch on my Instagram @ardinpatterson. I’ll also save it to my story.

Projects, Planning & Productivity

The weather’s been weird lately. One minute it’s boiling the next the wind is so strong I can barely open the car door without it slamming back in my face.

Windy days aren’t exactly fun when you decide you want to wear your hair out either. If I wanted a bowl out, I would’ve used a hair dryer! Sigh…of course the heat isn’t always friendly to hair either is it?

One thing that is nice about this bizarre weather is that it’s spontaneity inspires me to be more productive. The unfortunate thing is that with all I have on the go, I probably need to invest in a personal calendar. My phone just won’t cut it. I’d like to try and manage all of my projects effectively, whether that be recording which is currently my #1 priority (I’ve been recording an audio book this summer and it’s been so much fun!), or editing.

I also just started working part-time along with my job as a voice actor and the editing I do occasionally on the side. It’s nice to be working again, since the media industry is still adjusting to the changes happening during the pandemic. I’m eager to get back into the studio but I’m being as patient as possible and I’m making the most of the gigs I’ve been getting here and there during this pandemic. Plus my part-time job is loads of fun! I spend all day surrounded by books!

I do wonder if it’s possible for me to become more productive? Especially on my days off. Of course it’s important to take a break every now and then but when you have goals in mind, it’s good to stay on top of them. I try to set miniature goals for myself, of the things I’d like to accomplish in a week. I have a few set for this coming week. I’d like to get lots done in the next couple of days, but I also try to be realistic in what I can accomplish within a short span of time.

I have a habit of trying to do too many things at once which can at times be overwhelming, so I know that in order to counteract that, I have to make time for myself every so often so that I don’t burn out.

In terms of editing right now, I’m a lot further behind than I would have liked and what’s frustrating about that is the fact that I’ve got 3 chapters and 2 scenes to go. I’m at the end of the race with this 3rd round of edits but I chose to put it aside to complete other things. I think that by planning out my day and getting some sort of routine going for my editing, like I do for my at home recording sessions, I could probably get through these last few chapters more efficiently. Of course I still have to do a full read through before returning my corrections and my approvals back to my editor but I think once I get the last bit of editing done I can relieve some of the weight on my shoulders.

This is my debut. I just want everything to go smoothly.

Speaking of writing, I thought I’d do a little survey out of curiousity. If you’re a writer yourself, what is your writing style?

Brief Update

This is just a brief update on where I’m at with my editing and my journal that I’m using to reorganize my novel information.

If you watched my latest vlog, you’ll know that I recently went out to get a journal (that’s super cute by the way), to help me reorganize all of my novel information into an easy…reference book…yah, that’s basically what it is.

While editing I was finding it tedious to keep having to search for all of these files, some dating back to like 2013 to double check information about the world and characters, or to just answer one of my editors questions.

I made very detailed notes on the world of my novel as I went along over the years, which I’m thankful for because when I need it, I have it…but it’s annoying having to search through all these files trying to find exactly what I want. So I categorized it all, as you’ll see in the video.

Since I recorded the video, I’ve been working from my studio or editing for others, along with hanging out with my niece for the first time in forever. Which was really nice, and I’m glad that we got to chill. However, I was far too tired to work on anything else, so I decided to that I would jump back into editing this week. It’s now Tuesday.

So far I haven’t done any editing for myself, mainly because work carried over from last week that needed to be done. I also made the mistake of staying up far too late last night, so now I’m trying to force myself to stay up past 8pm, so that my sleep schedule doesn’t get thrown off.

I did some sketching earlier of a few ideas I had and also looked over some of my notes, once I submitted my work, but I haven’t done any edits today. I’m planning on jumping into it tomorrow, so that I can spend time organizing the reference book, although I still have lots of other things that need to get done.

Honestly, 2020 makes me hate being on the computer sometimes. I never thought I’d spend this much time on social media…ever. Luckily I got a new book to read, so I’ll be able to enjoy that when I need a break from screens.

I really enjoy editing and have a habit of launching myself into it for several hours without breaks…so I’m trying to at least create some sort of routine for myself, where I edit after lunch. I prefer to do my other work in the morning, like recording and such and usually aim to complete it by 2:30 the latest, depending on what it is.

I’m hoping to have the reference journal complete by the end of the week, but I’m also not going to rush through everything. I want to take my time, look over my editors feedback, start a conversation about certain sections that we feel need work and really enjoy the experience.

The journal is a bit hard to see in this image.

It’s probably easier to look at in the vlog, but I really like the colour. I scoped it out back in November, really liked it and when I saw that it was still at the store, I bought it.

It was such a great deal too. Plus there’s a tiny rocket ship.

Normally I’d pick a journal that actually reflects the novel I’m writing, but I wanted the one with the teeny tiny rocket. I just like doodling teeny tiny rockets…so…that’s basically why.

Anywho, I’ll be ending this blog post here, I just wanted to do a little update…and also felt the need to write something. I’ve been missing writing…but editing is its own thing, and each stage of this process is definitely worth it.

Hello! – June 16th

I haven’t updated my blog recently…mainly due to the heartbreaking events that have been happening over the past few weeks. It didn’t feel right to post novel updates or do character collages. I felt that it was better to amplify the voices that needed to be heard at the time.

These events also made me reflect on my work, and how I can use my platform (although it isn’t very big), to educate people on the importance of diversity in the media.

I have been complaining about the lack thereof, for a couple of years now and before the tragic death of George Floyd I had been writing and planning post regarding diversity in books. I noticed that within my older work, despite having mainly white leads, there have been themes of injustice, not feeling like one fits in, prejudice and racism. Topics that I unintentionally included, and was writing about as a teenager…that I never thought to reflect on until becoming an adult. I think that in the back of my mind, as a visible minority in my community, and being mixed race, these were things that were constantly happening to or around me, that instead of speaking about them openly, I ended up expressing them through my art. A lot of my older stories explore things that I sometimes struggled to understand…emotions that perhaps at the time I didn’t know how to work through.

Do I put myself into my stories? No…I don’t think so. However, I cannot deny the correlation between things happening in the world around me and themes that appear in my books.

Injustice and racism play a huge role in my debut novel…along with discussions of police brutality. I wrote this when I was in high school. I have cops in my family…however, I am a POC. I am fully aware of how people view black people. I have had family members racially profiled. When I started this novel, I was being bullied at school and called all kinds of derogatory names. I brushed it off, but it still hurt…and somehow those emotions manifested in a place of creativity. It actually made me realize how deeply racism affected me growing up.

At seventeen I unintentionally wrote a series where one of my main characters is a visible minority, who is profiled and mistreated because of he’s different. He is forced to change himself to fit into someone else’s standards in order to “protect” himself, and has to act a certain way so people don’t “fear” him.

This series has definitely grown up with me in many ways…but I can’t deny that this character and his experiences are a reflection of how I felt at the time, when I was made to feel…different because of my hair, and my skin. Things that I couldn’t change or control. I understood and related to his frustrations while writing because it was something myself and many other people of colour have and continue to go through.

Realizing this…makes it a bit painful to write. I’ve been working on another novel while my debut is off with my editor, but everything in this series seems so much heavier than I initially thought…I had no intention of writing a story like this…but it seems I’ve been telling stories of injustice and cruelty my entire life. Somehow…pain seeped into my space of creativity and transformed itself through fiction into something that I could handle. In a way…it’s almost a blessing that I’ve been able to use my creativity to express these types of emotions…despite being fully aware of it.

The world is definitely changing…and I think this change will be good. I don’t want my children to have to bury those feelings of frustration and pain so deep that…years later they realize it manifested in their art.

On a less…depressing note…I’ve been working on some really fun voice over projects lately, and I’m really enjoying myself. I’m also finally able to buy makeup, which I haven’t done in…wow…I have work, so I actually want to use some concealer and what not. I’ve liked taking a break from wearing makeup, however, I also miss playing with all the beautiful colours and seeing what types of looks I can create. Honestly, I think Valentines day was the last time I did my makeup. My skin was really clear at the time, so I only used a bit of concealer. Being single on Valentines Day was so fun. I’ve been single every Valentines Day…so far though? I don’t mind honestly. Most of the time I was either in school or working, and I just like the holiday because I have an excuse to wear lots of red (like Christmas).

I’m rambling now, but I really just wanted to end my blog post with something a little less gloomy. I’ve been on and off social media as well because I’m finding it’s been taking a bit of a toll on my mental health, and because my job requires me to be very energetic, I don’t like to feel sad before I get in the booth.

Please remember to take care of yourself, stay safe, wash you hands, and be kind to yourself and others.

Progress Update – 23007 words

I’ve been distracted lately, by everything that has been going on…and it is taking my a little longer to write this novel than I had intended, however, I would say that given the circumstances, I am doing fairly well.

I have reached 23007 words, and although I don’t really enjoy fixating so much on the word count, I have found that tracking it does motivate me.

My chapters seem to be coming along nicely, and it has been nice to have a project to work on amidst all this chaos…there needs to be some type of order I suppose. I may do some art later as well to help…relieve some stress. I’ve been working out a lot this week because it helps me clear my head.

I forgot how good it felt to have my feet slam against the pavement when I would run. All of my stress and frustration or anxiety would disappear with each step. I haven’t been for a run unfortunately, but working out at home is just as effective as it would be to go out.

Today my sister and I decided to go to one of our favourite bakeries and get donuts for our friend and her family. We haven’t seen them since the quarantine took effect, and decided it would be nice to go and drop something off.

It is hard with everything going on…but to see our friends speaking out against all of this injustice and the protest in our community, has been a nice reminder that others do care, and they aren’t going to sit by and watch anymore.

The amount of friends who reached out and said, “I love you and I’m listening” has touched my heart to the point where whenever I think about it I tear up. I guess I’m a bit of a cry baby sometimes…but it is nice to be told you’re loved and I wish I said it to my friends more often, because they mean a lot to me.

I guess I’m the type of person who, although I can spend much of my time on my own, I love to hang out with my friends and family. I’ve missed recording at studios and going to the bookstore and drawing with friends or playing games together. I miss just talking about nothing, and thinking of ways to make them smile.

Unfortunately we still have a ways to go before we can do that again.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to muster up the energy to create in a world that seems to be falling apart…if that is what calms me, and if it provides a sense of safety and security…then I suppose it will do until I order pizzas with my friends again and play video games.

Human by Ardin Patterson

Lately I’ve been struggling to find the right words…

Mincing them has never seemed to work.

If I scream will my voice finally be heard,

Or will it get lost among the sirens?

I have spent many years in silence.

I have spent many years holding back my tears,

And all the pain I have buried within my heart,

I feel my skin peeling back; I’m begging to be seen…

As human.

Tired by Ardin Patterson.

How do you write when your heart is in pain, and your soul feels shattered
like glass smashed against the pavement?

I shed tears for people I don't know…

Weeping endlessly as the day creeps on, like tiny spiders making the
long trek across a never-ending surface, searching for the safest corner.

There are no safe corners.

I lie to myself at times, but I know it’s true because there are nights when I
lie awake in my bed and realize that no matter how far I pull my sheets
over my head, it won’t protect me from the monsters.

My hands shake too much to focus and I can’t tell if it’s a boiling rage
that’s been sitting dormant inside me since childhood, or fear.

Fear of what?

The lingering sense that any sort of security is false, and that this roof
over my head won’t be enough to stop the rain from getting inside my head.

Other people’s thoughts, fears, pain—all seeping into my head and
slithering down until it fills my entire being, and all I can do is sit there—heavy.

I don’t know how to express these feelings…is it something close to betrayal?
Is it anger?

Maybe I’m just tired.

I’m tired of the suffering. Tired of the fear. Tired of the monsters, that I
used to think were just my overactive imagination playing tricks on me late at
night.

Yah…I’m tired.