A lot of what ATR wrote made no sense. She made many simple things complicated. She no longer participates in this forum.
Before any answer can make sense, you will have to provide more detail about the source files and the output files. "make the shorter clips their own individual files " is confusing.
I'm not sure I understand. If I do, for best quality, do all your editing on the original project. Then for the sub sections use the "Work area Bars". At output there is a check box to limit the output to only what is included in the work area bars.
If you pick output settings that match your source, you can make individual pieces that are almost as good as the original. You could build a second project with that.
Sorry for being confusing!
Let me see if I can be a little clearer: I have a interview recorded. The interview is one long file. What I want to do is chop the interview file into several smaller files, each one a only a few minutes long.
I actually thought I had already done this, because I have separated the interview into these chunks already within Premiere, but when I searched my computer for the smaller files I thought existed, they weren't there. Just typing this out makes me realize how dumb that assumption was >_>
Is this explanation better? If not, I'll keep trying!
If you chop up (trimming) a long file (clip) in smaller chunks (clips) in Elements they do not get written to the hard drive as such. But you will have those trimmed clips stored in the Project Assets window.
If you want these small clips as files on the hard drive you need to export them one by one from the timeline (using the Work Area Bar) or by using the Project Archiver feature (exports all the clips in one go).
There is one dis-advantage to writing these files to hard disk, that is that they get encoded twice. First time to make the smaller clips and the second time (after reimporting) when making the final product.
Here's what I would do.
Decide where you want the video to be split up and into separate videos. Cut the video at those points.
Then, position the work bars at the cuts. Timeline snapping will help position the work bar precisely. See Image
Then produce that clip by selecting "Share WorkArea bar only"
Terry did a much better job of describing what I was trying to suggest in post #2!