'Do you write short stories while you're writing a novel?'
'Oh no, it's a different mindset. I write down ideas for them, and then go back to them when I've finished the novel.'
That was the general consensus, at a meeting of people who earn their living from writing. It's interesting for me, as a not-yet-published novelist, to see how other people do it. For myself, I find that short story ideas - not to mention whole plot threads and pieces of dialogue - will spring up like weeds when I'm supposed to be engaged in the Grand Work. Procrastination in disguise; that old wolf in sheep's clothing. And sometimes, when they're particularly beguiling or the novel is getting bogged down, I do go with them. Any writing is better than none, isn't it?
On the other hand, I'm not working to deadlines, so maybe I should revisit the question in a few years' time. But if anyone has a different take on this, I'd love to hear about it.