At any rate, sometime during the last academic year I decided that it was okay to focus more on short stories, since those are (in theory) easier to manage while juggling all the other aspects of Real Life. What I noticed at first was that my standards for those were in some ways higher --- I'm so used to longer projects that anything that counts as "short fiction" is clearly something I should be able to write in one sitting. At least, that was my mentality for a very long time.
It makes sense in many ways --- part of the difficulty with novel writing or any more long term project is that it's much harder to hang onto the initial shininess until the end. With short fiction, it's a little easier to ride the wave of that initial idea and keep going until you've written the whole story.
With really short fiction, that works fairly well for me, and in many ways better than the longer projects which always seem to be what I do. But my maximum one-sitting word count tends to fizzle out around 2k, maybe 3k on a really good day. (I think I once wrote 4k in one go, but that was some kind of super human anomaly --- still not entirely sure how I managed it.) And when writing stories of around 4-6k (which seems to be the average length that my short stories like to be) I find I'm pushing the limits of just how far I can ride that idea wave.
One of the drafts I have now (still very raw and something that's nowhere near ready to see the light of day) currently numbers at 4,034. That was one sitting. (Okay, so maybe I did manage it more than once...) And on the one hand, great, I sat down and by the end of my writing session I had something ready and waiting to edit. I should be happy. I really like editing! (Yes I know I'm weird.) But the first thing I notice when I read that draft? It's rather clear that in the beginning of it I was happy to be writing and trying to do it well, but by the end I just wanted to be DONE with the whole thing because I'd been sitting and staring at it too long. The last scene (which is arguably the POINT of the whole story) reads as contrived, cheesy, and far too abrupt. Yes I churned out a draft in one go, but I had to sacrifice quality to do it and I don't love editing that much.
So is it better to let myself take breaks? Maybe. I can't really say, because with another story I'm working on I finally gave myself permission not to write it all in one sitting (much of this was borne out of a necessity for proper research in between scenes) and I have now been working on it for about 7 months, and it currently clocks in at 5,266. That's not the whole thing either --- I've written pretty much right up to the climax, and there's probably another ~1k to go. I don't think it has taken me 7 months to write 5k since I was about 13. Even for one month, that number seems pathetically small to me. Granted, if I had forced myself to write all of this in one sitting, it probably would have ended up a lot shorter (and the draft would have been much more lacking in quality to boot --- not that this thing is without the need for editing). As it is now, I actually feel like it's fairly decent. Some things need tweaking, but overall it's much cleaner than that other monstrosity that deteriorated into velveeta land.
Really, I just need to find a happy medium between productivity and quality (or rather, maintaining enough brain power to produce it) but I find this problem somewhat sneaky --- it was the last thing I expected when I decided it would be easier to be productive if I stuck to short fiction. On the bright side, I do now have two editable drafts plus one that's nearly done, and that makes me very very happy. :)