It’s very discouraging when a painstakingly crafted submission fails to hit the spot with editors. My personal antidote for many years has been the writing of ‘fillers’. Dashed off in minutes and sent on their way by email, they can be surprisingly lucrative. As well as mining my own store of opinions, jokes, anecdotes, household hints and family albums, I never leave home without a camera phone and notebook in my pocket. Snippets of conversation overheard on the bus, weird signs and advertisements, odd displays in shops etc. can all provide useful material.
Examples of good markets for 'fillers' are cheap and cheerful magazines like That's Life and Chat and, more surprisingly, perhaps Reader's Digest. Requirements and email addresses change all the time, so make sure that you check these before you send off your gems. I spend hours each year browsing the newspaper and magazine shelves in search of new opportunities and also keep an eye open for in house magazines that reward contributions from customers.
I save a proportion of my 'filler' money each year to pay for my place at the Writers' Summer School, an August week I would recommend to any aspiring or seasoned wordsmith. Its programme of courses, workshops, talks, discussions and entertainment all contribute to what the old hands call 'the magic of Swanwick' and first timers are welcomed with open arms? (Two of those arms will be mine this year, as I'm helping to host a table for newcomers on the first evening as well as running a workshop later in the week.)
You can get Maggie's book, which gives more hints and tips on filler writing here.