This my most serious writing endeavor ever. I've gotten much farther than I've dreamed of getting. So far, I've been chugging along writing everything in the order that I imagine it being written in the final few drafts. But lately, I've discovered that the more I write, the more my story evolves. It goes both forward and backwards in my story's timeline.
I "figured out" that the characters thrown together don't seem to trust each other as much as I originally thought they did. I decided that it wasn't plausible to for these reasonably intelligent people who were justifiably suspicious of outsiders would just team up and follow my MC because she seemed nice. So now, they are suspicious of her and have their own reasons for going along with her plans.
Now I want to go back and add I things to what I've already written. Things that seemed like background fluff now are filled with mystery and possibilities. So I've been going back and adding sheets. Thank goodness for Ulysses because otherwise I'd never attempt to do the sort of surgery I'm doing to what I've already written.
But now things are getting tangled up. As soon as I go back and add something, I think about things that need to happen in the future. Sometimes it's where I left off and that's easy, but sometimes it's something that happens near the end. Then I start worrying that if I keep jumping around back and forth through my first draft that I'll just end up going around in circles. The trust example is only one change. Several other little wrinkles keep popping up. I now refuse to delete or rewrite any sheets, because sometimes I drop an idea and a scene I deemed obsolete is back in business as the "canon" storyline.
Anyway, should I just plow forward without ever going back and forth? Or is it ok to jump around and change things. I'm not taking about editing. I'm talking about changing the story itself. I'm starting to worry that while I'm writing triple my word count goal on a daily basis, perhaps I'm not making any real progress and I'm just spinning my wheels and thinking too much. But I can't stop myself from playing with the plot because the more I play with it, the more I want to explore possibilities and I end up writing virtual reams of content. If I force myself to plod along with the order the story will be written, I feel resentful and edgy because I'm not writing one of the "good parts" that is currently on my mind. Then writing feels more like cleaning the kitchen floor and I want to put it off.
So help! Am I dooming my efforts by thinking of allowing myself to go off the leash and write any thing I want in any order I feel like? Or should I discipline myself and write in a straight line as much as possible? Which approach is more likely to lead to a successful story?