Monday, January 20, 2020

One Little Thing: Stephanie Affinito

I’ve had a special love of notebooks ever since I was a little girl. I carried them around with me, stuffed them into my backpacks and bags and piled them throughout the house. I loved them in all shapes and sizes: large notebooks with lines for writing stories, smaller notebooks with blank pages for sketching and drawing and miniature notebooks that I carried with me wherever I went to collect ideas and pass the time. 
One of my favorite childhood memories was when my grandmother took me to the elementary school she worked at to help her organize and stock the supply closet. I was in notebook heaven and painstakingly stacked and restacked the notebooks and writing utensils. I get that same feeling standing in the notebook aisle of my local craft store today. 
I treasure my notebooks and everything about them. My childhood notebooks carried all of my secrets: what I did that day, the friends I had, the stories I wanted to write, the things that made me sad and what I wanted life to be like when I grew up. Fast-forward thirty or so years later and not much has changed. I adore my notebooks and have several that I write in across a single day. 
I write how I want to feel and what I want to accomplish in my morning notebook. My reading and writing notebook holds my thoughts about the books I am reading and the pieces I want to write. My personal notebook captures all of the details of my life I don’t want to forget and offers me a safe place to share my hopes, dreams and fears. My miniature notebook travels with me at all times and is for writing EVERYTHING that I see, wonder about or just don’t want to forget from the day.

But my ‘One Little Thing’ notebook is even more special than any of them. My daughter made it for me with colorful stickers that make me smile each time I look at it. I keep this tiny notebook right next to my bed with a special colorful pen that I write with every night. 
Each year, I choose one little word to guide how I want to feel in the year ahead. This year, my word is ‘love’. Each day, I try to spread love and kindness in my family, my friends and in the world. And each night, I write what I did that day to bring my one little word to life. 

Most days, I can easily think of something I did to live with love and if I can’t, I think about how I can spread love tomorrow. Out of all my notebooks, this one has been the most impactful because it is more than just a notebook. It is a reminder to celebrate life: what makes me happy, what brings kindness to others, what helps make the world a better place. I write in my notebook at night and just knowing that I have a blank page waiting to fill energizes my day and reminds me to do something worth writing about. 
My ‘One Little Thing’ notebook is guided by my one little word, but yours doesn’t have to be. Think of this notebook as a way to celebrate each and every day. Let’s give it a try!
Turn to a fresh page in your notebook. Think about one little thing today that made you happy, that made you smile, that you did for someone else or makes the world a better place and write it down. Then, repeat. Everyday. Not only does this change how you intentionally go about your day, it helps you celebrate the little things and not get too bogged down by the big ones.
My One Little Thing notebook has carried me through difficult times in my life by helping me celebrate the positive, not the negative, and remember all of the good in the world. 
I hope you’ll try a One Little Thing notebook, too!
Image of Stephanie  Affinito
Stephanie Affinito is a literacy teacher educator at the University at Albany in upstate New York. She has a love of all things reading, writing and coaching and published her first book with Heinemann on Literacy Coaching. Learn more about her here:  

Stephanie is generously offering to give away a copy of Ralph Fletcher's A WRITER'S NOTEBOOK: UNLOCKING THE WRITER WITHIN YOU. She says, "This was such a powerful book in my own notebooking journey, and I'd love to pass it on." Please leave a comment (including a way to contact you) on this post by 11:59pm on February 2, 2020 to be entered to win.
Please know that Sharing Our Notebooks welcomes all kinds of notebook keepers - of any age and interest - to open up their pages and share their process.  At the present time, I am accepting all notebook entries and am especially hoping to receive more entries from boys and men who keep any kind of notebooks.  If you are interested in writing in this space, please contact me, Amy, directly.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I was introduced to this idea of notebooking in your #preservicelit twitter chat yesterday. I make lots of notes for myself but have never looked at it as something pleasurable. Now I am looking forward to it! Thanks
    Kari McDaniel

    1. I am thrilled to read this, Kari! I hope you'll give it a try!

  2. I am a notebook keeper and have a similar growing pile. I love the idea of finding one little thing to do each day to share your love. I would love to meet you in person sometime and share coffee and notebook secrets.

    1. Oh, how I would love that! I miss hearing voices on the TeachWrite voxer group, so this would be lovely! We will have to try and connect at a conference!

  3. Love the idea of Your One Little Thing notebook. I could easily adapt it for my OLW which is light. I could write about how I was the giver or the receiver of light each day. We all need reminders to focus on the positive and I can see how this notebook writing at the end of the day could do just that!

    1. What a fantastic word, Ramona. Your word is PERFECT for a One Little Thing notebook!


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