1) You have to starve doing it.
Ridiculous. I made as much as $2.50 a word, $10,000 for a single story, and worked regulary for at least a $1 a word.
2) It's all about clips and queries.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In my whole career, which spans hundreds on published stories, I think I got three from querying. And I've been in the offices of top editors. They have envelopes stacked up to the ceiling that they never have opened---and never will. It's all about relationships and networking.
3) It's never steady.
For the most part, that's true. But there are things called "contributing contracts." If you can get one of those, you're guaranteed a certain amount of stories a year and at a pretty high per-word price. Tough to get, but worth shooting for.
4) The big magazines are impossible to crack, so why try?
If that were true, how would they get their stories. If you "own" a story, which means no one can tell it but YOU, or if you write something extremely well, trust me, you have a good chance to breaking through.
5) Writing for Helium or Associated Content will lead to something big.
Not out of the realm of possibility but a longshot. All it does is give you a hassle-free, unedited platform to find and develop your writing voice. But then, so does a blog. You needs to make sales to respectable publication. Start small and build. Keep moving higher up the publication food chain. That has a better chance of leading to something big.