What I Want for my B-Day

Emily Strange Avatar

I’ve had a few people ask me what I want for my birthday. (It’s coming up in a few weeks.) Normally I hem and haw or make a list or say something lame like play my games or I hope you enjoy my stories… Blah dee blah… But no. THIS year, I finally figured out what I wanted. Ready?

During the week of March 10th

If you normally commit random acts of kindness for other people, do something nice for yourself.

**** OR **** OR **** OR ****

If you normally do something nice for yourself, commit a random act of kindness for another person.

No idea where to start? Here’s a list of twenty-five things you can do that costs less than five dollars. If you feel weird about talking to strangers, just tell them it’s your friend’s birthday and she asked you to do something nice. I should also point out that yesssssss, some of these ideas may require permission in advance blah, blah, blah. Please don’t get arrested. Or fired. That would not be good.

1) Buy coffee or a $5 gift card for the person behind you in line. Encourage them to keep paying it forward and see how long the chain goes.
2) Offer a single rose/flower to someone who’s feeling blue.
3) Compliment a stranger on their fashion sense.
4) Write a fan letter. (Doesn’t matter who you’re a fan of. Non-celebrities included!) Mail it.
5) Go to a Senior Citizen’s home and sing, read, or play games with the folks there.
6) Volunteer at your local animal shelter for an afternoon.
7) Show up at a children’s hospital in costume.
8) That thing you’ve always wanted to do for yourself but never did? Do it. If you can’t afford it, create a schedule and take the first step.
9) Say “Have a nice day!” to people in the elevator.
10) BAKE CUPCAKES! Share them.
11) Meet your neighbors. (Or, if you already know your neighbors, invite them to dinner.)
12) Plan a day where you say/share nothing but positive news/feel-good posts.
13) Wear the brightest color you can find and the largest, most obnoxious hat. (This is taking “brighten someone’s day” to a literal extreme.)
14) Donate canned goods from your kitchen for your local pantry.
15) Drive like a driver’s ed instructor. (e.g. NO TAILGATING OR CUTTING PEOPLE OFF!)
16) Play a brand new game or read a new book.
17) Get your library card. (If you already have one, visit your library.) While there, be sure to tell the librarians how awesome they are.
18) Support a local band/musician (or writer) and go to their performance (or reading).
19) Pick a day and get all dolled up!
20) Buy a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and distribute one to everyone you meet until they’re gone. (If you’re afraid people will think you’re a serial killer, try smiling instead. If that STILL doesn’t work, go to the dentist.)
21) Read every post all the way down to the bottom before you comment. (This might be more for me than for you… Heh.)
22) Rent a comedy.
23) Procrastinators untie! Make a list of what you’ve been putting off. Do 3 things.
24) If you’re attached, write a love letter. If you’re not, write an “I appreciate you” letter.
25) Explore someone else’s fandom that you’ve avoided because you think you’ll hate it. Ask them for help.

And for my fellow writers…

26) Write a piece of flash fiction for one other person.
27) Just write that book blurb/review already.
28) Write a children’s story. Draw the illustrations yourself.
29) Stop re-re-re-re-re-revising and submit!
30) Use March as your FiMyDaNo month. (Credit for the term goes to Kat Richardson. It means Finish My Damn Novel.)
31) Write. Every. Day. (Credit for the advice goes to Lili Saintcrow.)
32) Write a sonnet.
33) Organize a reading at a bookstore/library you’ve never been to before.
34) Halt all administrative activity and don’t answer e-mail for an entire day. Facebook and Twitter, too!
35) Pick a book you haven’t read in ten+ years. Read it again with your critical writer’s eye. What’d you discover?

Of course, you may decide to do something totally different and that’s great! If you wind up posting about what you did, please share that with me.

The idea behind this gift-to-me, is that I’m proposing you do a nice thing that’s outside of your comfort zone. Yes, this would make me happy because it’s a way of low-key partying without throwing a big bash. Sadly, I know many of you spend your time devoted to making other people happy. Sometimes? You need a teeny nudge to spoil yourself. (This is it, by the way. Subtle, eh?) A week of reconnecting, a week of smiley faces, a week of chocolate?!?! That sounds great to me–especially after this neverending winter. Can’t. End. Soon. Enough. Jack Frost, I am SO over you.

P.S. I blame George R.R. Martin for the longest winter we’ve had in 30+ years.

P.P.S. *jazz hands*

    Mood: Nostalgic.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Cutting myself off at 2 p.m.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Blargh.
    In My Ears: True Faith by The String Quartet
    Game Last Played: Sonic All Star Racing Transformed
    Book Last Read: Lovecraft’s Monsters anthology
    Movie Last Viewed: Ghostbusters
    Latest Artistic Project: *Still* *still* *still* need to take pictures… It’s on the list!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Freedom Flyer
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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