Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Be Persistent say John Jakes and Nancy Purcell

“Be persistent. Editors change; tastes change; editorial markets change.  Too many beginning writers give up too easily.”  — John Jakes, Author of the North and South Trilogy

Do you get a rejection and mark that poem or story off your list to submit? Do you have spurts when you send out work and then submit nothing for months? 

One of our NCWN-West members, Nancy Purcell, submitted a short story over 100 times before it was accepted. Nancy is an excellent writer, but that is not the only thing required to have your work accepted in magazines and journals. Nancy is persistent also. She had to find the right editor, the one who liked her story or needed her story for their next issue. This is what Nancy told me:

The story, "The Unwrinkled Heart," is online now at Valparaiso Fiction Review. It's the Winter 2015 edition. They only publish 6 stories a season. 

It was invigorating to receive the editor's letter saying, "I pray you have not accepted any other Review for this work. I love your writing and this is a great story. By the way, it's a pleasure to read a manuscript that is clean." 

Nancy has published 26 pieces of short fiction and is working on a collection of short stories she hopes to publish in the coming year. 

Some gifted poets give up writing or submitting when they receive a few rejections. It often takes hours of our time to search for markets and submit to publications. That is all part of being a writer. As someone said to me after our panel discussion at the Moss Library recently, "I understand now. Writing and publishing is hard work." Yes, it is and only those who are determined and who grow a thick skin will continue to submit. 

If you are an experienced writer, what is your advice to new or beginning writers and poets who want to see their work published? Tell us in our comments section.

Nancy Purcell served as a North Carolina Writers Network/Elizabeth Squire Daniels Writer-in-Residence, Peace College, Raleigh, NC, teaches Creative Writing in the Brevard College Community Education program, and Quick Coaches aspiring writers. Studied Creative Writing at the Iowa Summer Program. Seven years as County Representative for the NCWN-West Writers. Presently serves as the Prose Judge for the Board of the Carl Sandburg Home Writer-in-Residence Program,
Publications: 26 Short Stories to include: RiverSedge, The MacGuffin, Pangolin Papers, Troika, LongStoryShort, The Square Table, DiverseVoicesQuarterly, The Final Draft and RCVRY among others.


  1. Congratulations, Nancy upon your publication. Thanks to Glenda, for posting this great advise on submitting work. Nancy's words of encouragement are what we as writers need.

  2. Congratulations, Nancy upon your publication. Thanks to Glenda for posting this great advise on submitting work. Nancy's words of encouragement are what we as writers need.

  3. Brenda, you are one who is persistent and keep writing and publishing. You serve as a good example for other writers and poets.


You will not see your comment immediately. All messages will be moderated before being published. This is to keep down Spam. We want to hear what you think, so please leave a comment.