I finished the second chapter of my novel, working title "Gatekeeper- Destiny Rising". I'll let you in on a little secret. Writing a novel is the hardest and most rewarding task I have ever undertaken. There is no right or wrong way to go about doing so, except for perhaps not writing. There are a million books and blogs out there on how to do this but not one applies to all authors.
Every writer has his or her own style and routine. Some writers write meticulous outlines before they even begin. They have extensive character markups and storyboards hung all over their offices. Some writers like to fly by the seat of the pants. They sit and type without any idea of where they are going. Most of us, however fall somewhere in between.
I happen to fall towards the later end of the spectrum. I know where I am going, but I rarely bother to outline. This can be both freeing and detrimental to my career as a writer. Many writers find that outlining beforehand can allow them to quickly finish their work once started. This is not to say that the outlining does not take up a lot of time on its own. Outlining provides the writer a clear picture of where they are going and how they will get there. Without outlining, I often find myself block. I know where I am going but I don't have the road map to get there. On the other hand, outlining has always felt limiting to me. It can feel like being trapped in a box. A free write is much more, well freeing. It's writing without limits.
Another thing writers often wonder is if it is better to write with a computer or the good old fashioned pen or pencil. The famed children's author, Ronald Dahl wrote with a legal pad and a number two pencil. Now, many writers are in their local coffee shops with a laptop or tablet. So which way is best? The truth is, it depends on the author's own style. I started out writing fan fictions and short stories in various notebooks that can now be found in a green bin in my parent's house. At the time, I loved doing so. It was a distraction lite way of writing and I could take the notebook's everywhere I went, and I often did.
These day's, I switch back and fourth between an iPad and my Toshiba. It's still portable and I have research right at my finger tips. For a writer with atrocious spelling, spell check has been a God send. I love having everything ready to format. I currently use a program called Scrivener to do my work on the laptop, syncing between a RTF program called Textilus and Dropbox when working on the iPad. The great thing about Scrivener is that it uses folders and notebooks to allow me to organize my work into chapters and parts, all in one document. Scrivener uses a compile feature that readies the novel to be sent off to publishers in Professional Manuscript form. It is even easy to create EBooks from said compile.
Once again, the choice is really up to you. How you write is just as personal as what you write.