As I've mentioned before, I haven't done New Year's "resolutions" in a long time. Thinking of the coming year in those terms feels discouraging, a potential set-up for failure. What I like to think of are "goals," and preferably modest enough to be fairly sure of accomplishing. Positive reinforcement for one's efforts is always a good thing. So here are a few goals I have for the near future:
Transcribe and release this year's vampire fiction bibliography update by the last week of January at the latest. Write a story in collaboration with my husband to submit to the forthcoming Darkover anthology well before the end-of-summer deadline. Write a brief essay the editor of a vampire journal asked me to compose for the magazine's "Notes" section. Discuss with one of my publishers the possible re-release of my erotic paranormal romances "orphaned" by the demise of Ellora's Cave that I haven't already self-published. I'm also awaiting reprint of a few more "orphaned" non-erotic romances contracted with a different publisher, but the schedule for that process isn't in my control. I don't have any active plans for original fiction in progress right now. Whether I produce any in 2022 will depend partly on whether one of my publishers comes out with a submission call that intrigues me. I considered adding "get through the manga in my TBR stack" to this list, but that objective is probably unattainable, because it's infinite; new books keep appearing. (Heavens to murgatroyd, I wonder how that happens?)
In terms of the bigger picture, I recently read an article about society's goal in regard to COVID-19. The question under consideration was: What do we expect when we anticipate the end of the pandemic? What do we mean when we talk about an "end," and what would it look like? What we do know is that the virus will probably never disappear from the face of the Earth. Which numbers of case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths would we regard as a sign that the pandemic is over? Most likely, it will subside to an endemic level like ordinary flu, kept in check by annual boosters. In another recent article about how pandemics end, examples of past infectious disease threats and their outcomes were analyzed. Some were eradicated, some died out on their own, some had their risks drastically reduced by vaccination, and some became endemic (always present in the environment but not a serious danger to most people). All we can be sure of is that COVID-19 won't last forever—even if it's beginning to seem like it.
Whether in our personal lives or on a nationwide or global scale, we can't meaningfully achieve goals unless we define them in specific, measurable terms. Unless we're sure where we want to go, how will we know when we get there?
Margaret L. CarterCarter's Crypt