I’d say, Brenton, that this is normal with many things you learn. I’ve read a lot about learning, a topic that fascinates me, and it usually goes in a pattern of growth, plateau and even backsliding, and eventually growth again, only to repeat over and over. Don’t worry…the whole time your body and brain are learning, even if you don’t see visible evidence of it. Eventually, you’ll notice a new jump forward. I’m not a vet like many guys on here, but I still have days when i feel like i have no idea what I’m doing… often after a day of being so fast and smooth that i feel like an old Zen master!
Another point to keep in mind is that you don’t want to practice too many different things at once, especially if they are related. That can confuse your brain and hamper muscle memory from forming. Sure, experiment with different techniques to see what feels good and to discover how different movements produce different results, but then pick a technique and stick with it till it becomes second nature.
I agree with the other guys on doing straight pulls. Not to start a huge debate, but - and I’m saying this very loosely so please fanners don’t get up in arms - they can be faster and more efficient. I’ve switched to straight pulls almost exclusively for storefronts and it’s been way better.
As far as the swivel, if you mean something like the wagtail or excelerator, I’d say yes they have their place, but aren’t necessities. If you mean a handle that let’s you change the angle…imo, even that isn’t crucial, maybe just convenient for certain situations. Swivel actually annoys me most of the time if it doesn’t stay straight when i want it to, which is most of the time.
When you can, think about just getting a 12" channel for fanning. It’ll fit your current handle and it’s only like $10. Much better to learn. Fanning with an 18" to start is like trying to beat the level 30 boss when your character is only level 5. Incidentally, I leaned to fan on an 18" liquidator, prolly one of the hardest ways to start.
For your solution, I’d say for now lean towards using more soap. While that can cause it’s own problems, imo good slip is really helpful for a learner. That way you can focus on the movements without the frustration of the squeegee sticking and jumping. Plus, you can see what you’re doing better. When you get the hang of it, cut down the soap. You know it’s way too much when sudsy water sticks to the tips no matter how much you drag the squeegee over dry glass and you’re getting arched streaks.
That triangle of water is most likely a result of turning too sharply.
Anyway, I hope some of this sequel to your novel helps you. I admire your determination to improve and your dedication to practicing. Keep it up, the results will come with time!