An anonymous commenter on a previous post asks, "How do you balance persistence and pressure to publish?".
The big question I have is - who is pressuring you to publish?
If it is yourself, then the way I view all publications/research is: 1) What is the big idea I want to do, and 2) How do I best tell the world about it?
Sometimes, if it's a big idea with lots of pieces, you publish as you go. This is another reason why it's good to diversify your publication venue. So, when you're just sketching ideas out, workshop. Maybe you have some preliminary results, low-tier conference. Maybe your research is rocking the house, top-tier conference / journal.
Some people say, "Bah, least publishable units, growl." But it's not about that necessarily. It's about telling a story, building on previous work, figuring out where you're going. Instead of waiting three years and squashing everything into one paper, you keep the ball rolling.
Sometimes you Don't Publish. And that's ok too. For example, in the middle of my PhD I spent about 6 months doing exactly nothing. Nada. I realized I was spinning to far out into the wrong direction. It was time to retool and rethink my plans.
Now, if someone else is pressuring you to publish, that's a whole other ball of wax. I think in that case it's a question of what relationship they have to you (dean, chair, advisor, colleague, student), and whether their request for you to publish makes sense. Are they pressuring you because they think your work is amazing and ready for the world to see? Are they pressuring you because they think you publishing now will help your career later? Is it to help their career? It helps to explore motives here.
If you need time to persist on a research thread, drop the self pressure to publish and find your center. If you have someone breathing down your neck to publish tell them to lay off for awhile while you get your groove back. The last thing you want to do is publish junk science just because you're being pressured to publish for the sake of publishing.
* For the geeks out there. (See also: this shirt.)