Byline

I have written under more than one name, but the one that most identifies me, and the name I use most often, is Constance Barr Corbett. I was born Constance Inez Barr in a small town in eastern North Carolina. The man I married and had children with had the last name “Corbett”.

Once my divorce from that man was final, I went back to using my maiden name, Barr. My youngest son came to me with trembling lips one day and asked, “What is wrong with being a Corbett?” Well, nothing, and if my no longer using that name meant he was upset, I’d go back to using it. So here I am with the byline I first published under: Constance Barr Corbett.

I have decided to use that name on most of my written work. They say an author should publish everything under the same name as s/he makes her voice and writing known.

If you look for my work, check that name. If you read something that has my “voice” and you wonder if I wrote THAT, do a little research, if it matters to you.

Otherwise, just know I have selected the byline for the rest of my life and this is it: Constance Barr Corbett

Who Got Shot?

Today for my Blindman book writing, I scrolled through what had already been written looking for something for that book and not the sister book that will also be printed at some point.

Right now I am writing chapters and printing them out so I can put them in a binder and look to see what’s missing.

Once in awhile I will find some chapter already written that has not been printed out and put in the binder yet. That is what happened today.

Who Got Shot? may be one of the best chapters. It is at least average or slightly above average in being interesting and important to the story. It’s hard for me to judge. Ha, ha . . . that’s a funny play on words, but you’d have to be familiar with the story to understand why.

I will not know how all these chapters fit together until I get them all written and printed out with holes punched in their sides and them chronologically in the binder that holds this book.

When a chapter has been printed out, I change the font color to red before I save it again so I can know at a glance when I look at the chapters what’s left to print. If I hadn’t also saved the chapters of the sister book to this one in the same computer folder, it would be simpler still. However, I am learning as I go and don’t want to try to separate the two right now for fear of losing something valuable. It’s too much work. I just want this first book written, pitched to an agent and published by either a publishing house or Amazon.com

My writing focus is The Blindman book and I will work on it daily from now until the end of February.

I may need a thicker binder soon. I hope so.

Fire!

I am working on a memoir about a blindman. I just wrote the chapter titled Fire! It turned out to be 1003 words long.

Most of my chapters consist of a lot of dialogue. I probably need to add more descriptions later as I edit. Right now I am just trying to get the scenes down. I’m assuming different scenes will be different chapters.

My primary goal is to get this book published. I have looked at self-publishing and so far Createspace at Amazon.com seems to be the best place to do this.

I want to finish my writer’s website. I want to list books there that will be for sale at Amazon through Createspace.

While I had my day job, I did a lot of research and reading. Now I am trying to put into practice what I learned.

I’ve also looked at a Writer’s Conference that is coming up. You can pitch to an agent at that and I really want to do that with this book. I know a publisher can market this book better than I can. I’d like to at least try approaching an agent and/or a publisher with this book. I also know the whole book doesn’t have to be written to get an advance and continue writing on it. However, the more I have written, the more confident I’ll feel when I pitch to an agent.

The chapter on Fire! was one of the longest chapters so far. It was 1003 words.

I admire James Patterson and love the quick pace of his books. I want to count his words per chapter and see how I need to adjust my own chapters to be more like his.

I want to tell this story, but I want it read by people more than anything else. I think at some point, I will publish a chapter or two on my website or this blog.

When I finish setting up my website, I will link it to this blog.

Writing is a journey. For me, that has been the case. I’ve taken numerous courses and learned much from each of them. I subscribe to Writers Digest and always learn something from each issue. I buy the Writers Market every other year and read it like a bible. I need to check to see when Writers Market 2016 will be available.

I’ve had to quit my day job. Due to complications from Diabetes, I can no longer teach all day every day. I tried to work half days and that was too much. However, my new principal had overloaded me with children – I had almost double the number I should have had. I was an Intervention Teacher and my student load was 48 children – all either First Graders or Kindergarteners. I may have been able to continue, IF my workload had been reasonable. That’s water under the bridge.

I loved my teaching job and I was good at it.

I also love Writing. It takes longer to see the results (being published) from this endeavor, but I’ll just have to adjust my attitude and carry on. Like I told one friend, “When a door closes, a window flies open, or something like that.”

Outside this newly opened window may be as much satisfaction and pride as I got from helping struggling readers learn to read better.  I certainly hope so.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Where can you look and not get a writing idea? What did people of old write about? One poet wrote about daffodils, so flowers and plants are a possibility. “I wandered lonely as a cloud . . . ” I wonder if my seventh grade teacher would realize that many years later I can still recite Wordsworth poem? We did that back then – in schools – we memorized and would recite. Do young people now have any poem or sets of words they can recite from memory? Do they know it can be a coping mechanism when things get tough? When things get tough . . . that right there is something to write about. We read each other’s struggles in hopes to learn from them, compare them to our own, or understand our fellow man better. (Sorry feminists, not feeling like him/her today) . . . Things were simpler before everyone starting jumping up and down tantrum-like demanding to be treated equally. I remember “Women’s Lib” from my college years. I took Sen. Ervin’s speech on women’s liberation and revised it and presented it with great pride to my speech class. Well, it didn’t get the welcome I had hoped, but as those other coeds sat and demanded! Yes! Demanded! to be allowed to go out and work every day – just like a MAN!, visions of my exhausted mother flashed across my eyes and I knew they did not know what they were asking for. She worked five and a half days a week and was always tired. Now I’ve worked with the women who are “benefiting” from all that demand for equal rights and what many of them long for now are what women had a few decades ago – freedom to stay home with their children – freedom to take a nap when pregnant and not have to work right up until the day they delivered their baby – and then rush back to work six weeks later . . . The past, the present, the future, are all things we can write about. The list of ideas is endless.

  1. Sam Ervin
    American Politician
  2. Samuel James “Sam” Ervin, Jr. was an American politician. A Democrat, he served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina from 1954 to 1974. Wikipedia
  3. Born: September 27, 1896, Morganton, NC
  4. Died: April 23, 1985, Winston-Salem, NC

Writer’s Conference

I went to a Writers Conference – sponsored by Reader’s Digest – in the mid 1980’s. There my article “Helping Hands are Learning Hands” won third place out of 200 entries. I flew down to South Carolina for that conference and enjoyed myself. It was a brief trip because I was married and had two young sons at the time.

I have wanted to go to another Writer’s Conference in the last few years. I knew I could not go while I was a single parent with three sons who needed me around, but they are grown now and there is nothing to stop me.

I’ve recently stopped working, so that won’t be a problem either.

I’m not sure I’m up to flying and being at a conference, but if I can come up with the money, I’m planning to go to one next year.

At the one I’ll looking at, you can pitch your book/novel to an agent. That’s one of the things I’d like to do while there.

The book I want to pitch is about The Blindman. I hope to have it finished by then. I am going to work on it daily between now and then and see how much I can get written.

I loved to teach, but I think I love to write more.

Why Do You Write?

I write because if I don’t, my head will get so filled with characters and scenes, descriptions and opinions that there will be no room for anything else. I write so I can think.

In studying the art (craft?) of writing, I am often surprised by the elemental information that is out there for writers to read.

Do they not already know these things? If not, why not?

If writing is this mysterious to them, why do they seek to be writers?

Do some crave the money? the attention? perhaps the fame? Do others view it as “easy work” (to them I say to think back on the last research paper they wrote . . . was THAT easy?) Do they have a story to tell?

I write because I cannot not write. I wonder why other writers write?

The Blindman

I am working on a book and the “working title” is The Blindman.

This morning I woke up and had a scene from it mapped out in my head and banging on the sides to get out. Before breakfast, I sat down and wrote 465 words. I’m not sure if this is a chapter or a scene yet. I do like the way James Patterson writes short chapters that are full of action, but I don’t know how many words are typically in each of his chapters. I’m trying to make my chapters long enough to cover the event, but short enough to stay interesting and tightly written. Of course, like all my other writing, except my blogs and sometimes my poems, I will come back to what I wrote today and edit it.

I’m looking at a writers conference I received information on this week. It takes place next year. There is a time during that conference to pitch an idea to an agent. I had thought I’d self-publish this book, but now think I’ll try pitching it to an agent, if I’m fortunate enough to go to that conference.

Writing is often an easy task. I think I must organize my thoughts while I sleep because on good mornings like this, I wake up with words, like energetic children, wanting to be let out to play. I go to my keyboard and they spring from my fingertips onto the page and then I go back when I’m done letting them out and organize them a little better. Then I trust they’ll be ok without my supervision and I leave them until a later date when I come back to be sure they are exactly where I want them.

I love to write. When I was married and stayed home, I wrote while my children napped. But that’s another blog for another day. . .

Print it Out

I store my stories, articles and chapters of my books on the computer. I also print them out.

Today I saw where the Federal Data Base was hacked and much data was stolen. http://news.yahoo.com/us-officials-massive-breach-federal-personnel-data-210302099–politics.html

I also understand that computers crash and all sorts of technological problems can occur that no one talks about.

It also helps me to see it in print, as a reader will (unless they use kindle).

If you are also a writer, you might want to make a hard copy of your creations as well.

Joy Cowley

As a Reading Recovery Teacher, I noticed Joy Cowley’s name on many of the books I used to teach children to read. Children love the books she’s written. Mrs. Wishy-Washy is one of my favorites. She’s written hundreds of delightful children’s books.

I have some children’s books of my own that I’ve written/am writing, and I went to Joy Cowley’s website to see what she was all about. She is a woman I wish lived next door to me. She seems very kind and quite intelligent. I’d love to meet her some day.

In looking at her website, she mentioned a book The Duck In The Gun and said it is out of print. It may have been one of her first children’s books. All I know is I went to Amazon to look for that book and found a few copies. The review of it by one purchaser said everyone, adults and children, should read this book. That was good enough for me. I have always enjoyed Joy Cowley’s children’s books. So I’ve ordered it.

I’m trying to get my writing career off the ground and there is so much to do and think about. I found it encouraging that Joy Cowley spends about 3 years thinking about a book before she actually writes it, or finishes it . . .  I find that my best work comes when I’m doing other things. Like her, she gave the most wonderful analogy of being like an animal going off into the wild to give birth – and like her, when I’m ready to write, I type as fast as I can. It’s in there (my head), I just have to get it out.

There is no way at my age that I will ever be as successful as Joy Cowley, but she is certainly an inspiration and someone to aspire to.