I'm taking a quick break before beginning the next chapter of my WIP, so I thought I'd blog really quickly about my process. For me, the beginning is the hardest part of drafting because there are so many questions still unanswered and so many blank pages still in front of me, and I know a lot of writers struggle with this. I don't have strict outlines, just lots of notes on scraps of paper and in notebooks (Oh, how I wish I could outline!) Basically what I figured out works for me is planning (usually in bullet points) just the next 3-4 chapters ahead of where I am. Then I write those chapters, plan the next several, and keep going like that.
And since I never have ANY idea how long a novel is going to end up being I can't just say "it's going to be around 60,000 words so at 30 I'll be halfway! So instead I try to only focus on 10,000 words at a time. For example, right now, about to start chapter 5 (!!!) I'm 700 words from reaching 10k words. Up to this point all I've been thinking is "in the plotlines and in the character's relationships, where do I want to be at 10k?" Now I'm going to sit back and think "where do I want to be at 20k?" And then plan out the chapters that will get me there. This way I never get overwhelmed with how far I still have to go, but still have a path to guide me.
If you're a struggling writer, I hope this helps! :)