This raised an interesting question: how do you know when to edit? If things aren't going well, do you just struggle on? I've never been able to do this. I feel that previous chapters lay the foundation for the following chapters and if you feel they are weak and bother you, then you should go back and fix them up. This isn't any kind of final edit - it's just getting that foundation more solid.
I felt as if my novel had turned into a swamp and was prepared to be rewriting for weeks. I was immensely surprised (and relieved) to find the first three chapters in excellent shape. In fact, they were exactly how I wanted the later chapters. It seemed I had forgotten how I had begun and had wandered off on the swampy paths of cliche. By Chapter Three, I was hacking at bits I didn't like and inserting the ideas that were meant to be there, including new ideas. For example, I have a problem with the word "magic": I didn't want to use this word. I'm not writing about magic, my heroine isn't a witch, she doesn't cast spells. But there is an "otherness" in this novel that I seemed to be describing with increasing clumsiness. So I gave in and used the magic word and instead of making it corny, it's actually given the story focus.
By the time I reached the weak and woolly chapter seven, I was hacking merrily. My ideas were very focused, the story had much more clarity and I wasn't wasting time with meaningless paragraphs.
My writing is starting to feel freer.
I had planned to take off three writing days when I go back to work tomorrow, but I've changed my shifts and will continue in the morning. At last I'll be able to start chapter eight. Act 1 is drawing thrillingly towards its climax.