I sometimes forget that those short stories are the stuff careers are made of. Those editors I know and like so much at second-tier markets? They're dreaming of stories that will launch their magazines to pro status. And the big guys, the people I sent stories because you're supposed to send things to them--well, they're paying attention. Your name gets around in this little industry.
It's easy to forget in all the supportive kindness of the spec fic community that everyone in it is in business. And it's a serious business. Underneath the smiling faces, the successful writers are sleek word-killing machines. Sharks.
I am not a shark.
I don't know if I can make it in this business. But I do know it'll be a hell of a long time* before I send out another short story.
*Appended: In the hyperactive world of Wendy, this means like, a month. Or maybe 3 weeks.