I'm always looking for The Right Way to write a novel. I've tried it in the context of a class several times. I've tried it with a critique partner, exchanging set numbers of pages every week. And I've tried it on my own. The first two methods seem to get me pretty far when I am just starting a project, but they become less effective once I hit the half-way or further mark. At those points, I want to work on my own at a slower pace and the structure of the arrangement stresses me out and drags me down. I spend so much time trying to force myself to make my deadlines with new chapters that I miss the goal every time.
Starting a project on my own seems to be equally ineffective. Without someone to read my pages and offer insights early on, I have no way to reign it in. I get way too much stuff going on. Also, with no one telling me how good it is, how they can't wait to read more, I have less incentive to push forward. I find positive feedback very addictive!
Right now, I think I'm at a temporary point where I'm ready to be on my own again. Then, when I finish this draft, I'll need readers to offer feedback to help me get things going for my revisions. (I expect that my crit partner will be okay with this. She's been letting a draft percolate for awhile, but still reading for me whenever I'm able to get something ready for her.)
I think I'm finally learning that My Right Way to write a novel is different at every stage of the project. Unfortunately, I spend too much time trying to force myself to work in a way that has had results in the past, and then I get frustrated when it doesn't continue to be effective.
I really want to make a better effort at paying attention and recognizing when it's time to switch up my routine.