Monday, May 26, 2014

The Top Five List

I recently shared a post on Carol J. Alexander's blog about using a Top Five list to help get kids to write. I encourage parents to have a "Top Five Day" to build thinking and writing skills.

Students make a Top Five list on various topics, such as favorite foods, books, or movies, or a list like things not to do at a restaurant or when driving. Depending on students' ages, they can survey friends and family, compile, and compare and contrast the results.

It made me think (I know, seriously, what doesn't make a writer think?) about how a Top Five list might boost our writing. It could help with anything from goals to ideas, clarify a book's vision or structure that troublesome essay.

A Top Five list might generate an article on what new grads must know as they look for jobs, or which points to share in an article's sidebar. It might spark inspiration for a query, booklet, blog post, or speech you must share at the next writer's group meeting.

I've found it helpful to make a list (of any size) to gain clarity. It often clears out the clutter and brings the main point in focus. Do lists help you focus and stay on task?


This Week's Top Five Notable Points :)

If you'd like to read the original Top Five post on Carol's J. Alexander's blog, click here.

Congrats to Ruth Schiffman, winner of Cathy Bryant's book giveaway! Thanks to all who stopped by.

There's still time to enter the Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition. Deadline is June 2. Genres include children and YA, memoir, poetry, articles, short stories, and more. Grand prize includes $3000 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference.

I am working on Volume One of my next book, Write for Life. If you'd like an overview and a peek at the cover, click here.

Happy Memorial Day! To veterans, those in active duty and who've lost loved ones in service, thank you for your sacrifice for our freedom. 


How can a Top Five list can help you?


Have a great week,

Karen


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

27 comments :

  1. Awesome you're working on your next book. Have a great holiday today!

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  2. I think a top-five list is a great way to get children interested in writing. It's a fun topic and it encourages sharing as well because people will compare their top-fives. Hope you're doing well Karen :)

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  3. Never thought of it that way. Would have to look over my manuscript and figure out what to make a top five list on.

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  4. Whatvever can help writers, well, write, is good, I would think, Karen. Congrats on working on a second book. Hope your Memorial Day is good! Susan

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  5. Natalie,
    I am excited, thank you! :) Hope you enjoy the day as well.

    Keith,
    I agree; there are so many other applications. Doing well, and hope you are too! :)

    Alex,
    I hadn't thought about it either until after I wrote the post. Something to think about, anyway, right? :)

    Susan,
    I think you are right! :) Thanks so much. Have a great day!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  6. Hi Karen - that's great you're starting your new book .. and writing five top fives makes sense .. so often I think to myself .. really I should note these things down, so I remember for next time ... collating things does make sense and we can remember more easily ... three or five - is good ...

    Great idea .. cheers Hilary

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  7. I love lists of any kind just because of what you wrote--they help me focus. Congrats to Ruth on winning and to you on your book. I'll stop by and take a look at that cover.

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  8. Thanks for sharing the top 5 list. It looks nice to read.

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  9. HIlary,
    It really does make sense, and you are right, sometimes it's three too. Sometimes even ten make a good list too! :) Whatever works for getting things in order, right? Thanks a bunch!

    Lee,
    I have lists all over the place! :) I find I can so easily lose track of a task without one. Thanks so much!

    Lilith,
    You are welcome! I know it helps me focus, and hopefully it will help others too.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  10. Wow, Karen. I can already feel my brain starting to heat up. I love this idea. Top 5! Thanks.

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  11. What a great idea for a top five list! I can see how it would be helpful, and I do love some list-making. :)

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  12. Rhonda,
    Just don't let it overheat, lol! Can't have it melt the BOP (bright orange purse). :D Glad you liked the idea!

    Cherie,
    Thanks, I am glad you like it! I'm a big list fan too. I'm thinking a lot of writers are, maybe? Congrats on your book!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  13. Congrats on your new book! And I like the idea of the top five list. It is like organized brain storming!

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  14. In high school, I always had a list in my pocket--things that needed to be done, and a priority scale. That system has always worked well for me (except for when I don't have pockets). I've found the same thing works for outlining. If I make a list of elements I want to include in a story, they organize themselves on the page, and suddenly I've got a plot, characters, setting and the motivation to get moving. Now I'm off to check out your guest post. I totally need some help with getting my littles excited about their writing.

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  15. Lisa,
    Thank you! I like that - organized brainstorming! :) May borrow that phrase if you don't mind.

    Crystal,
    I always had lists too, although I didn't have a scale. But that is a good idea! Thanks for hopping over to Carol's place!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  16. I love top 5 or 10 lists. They're easy to make, easy to read, and can pack a lot of information.

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  17. Nas,
    Thanks! Glad you like it! :)

    Medeia,
    You are so right! They act as an outline of sorts, don't they? :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  18. Writing the Research Paper - that is going to be a best seller!

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  19. A top five would work for me--one for each weekday. I could dedicate one day to complete one writing-related task.

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  20. Diane,
    Thanks Diane! Hopefully these lessons will take help students and parents not be intimidated. :)

    Donna,
    I think that's an excellent idea! I need to do that! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  21. Oh how I loved this post. I'm a huge list maker. Can't do anything without them and now that I'm using my phone to keep various lists, I'm a happy girl, indeed. :) Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration, Karen.
    Have a wonderful weekend. xx

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  22. I'm for anything that makes writing and researching a novel easier. This I will definitely try.

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  23. Dotti,
    I am glad you liked the post. Somehow I knew you were a kindred spirit list maker! :) Blessings to you and your gang! xo

    Joylene,
    Me too! So glad you think it worth a try. Always appreciate your wonderful support. :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  24. Hi Karen - Great idea! I've got to try this. A school chum and I used to play the thankful game. We each listed what we were thankful for, and the one with the longest list won. Of course, it was longer than five items, but this reminded me of it. Blessings, Susan :)

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  25. Hi Karen! A top 5 sounds like a great writing prompt, doesn't it? Kind of the 'I Believe...' series.
    It's a great thing to get kids involved in writing. It really boosts their ability to express themselves, and to not be afraid of the blank page ( I could have used that!!).
    Best of blessings on the new book. I think you are the busiest, happiest person I know. Thank you for sharing all of it with us!
    Happy June,
    Ceil

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  26. Susan,
    I like the idea of a thankful game. It reminds me of Pollyanna's Glad Game! :) Let me know how you like it if you try it.

    Ceil,
    I agree, it could make a great writing prompt! I love sharing a spark to get kids writing. :) It's always fun to see them take off with it. Thanks for your kind comments!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!