When I first got serious about writing, I knew that producing a novel-length manuscript would take a lot of discipline. My initial approach was to transcribe the story exactly as it existed in my head. I didn't stop to ask if this was the best approach.
Since then I've learned that there's more to drafting a manuscript than single-minded pounding at a keyboard. Trial and error taught me what I could have learned from more experienced writers if I'd thought to ask. The following list of composition methods should save you some time.
Write in Drafts. Like I mentioned before, composing and editing are two different processes. My rookie mistake was trying to perform both operations at the same time. The result really slowed my progress.
Instead of editing as you go, write one whole draft at a time. Then go back and revise. The idea is to find a writing groove that will maximize your creativity. Don't get bogged down worrying about mistakes. You can fix them later.
Add chapter breaks later. A corollary to writing in drafts to avoid breaking the first draft up into chapters while writing. If you wait till the revision phase, you'll already know where the natural pauses and cliffhangers are. Insert chapter breaks accordingly.
Or compose in chapters. I know some writers who draft in chapters and save each one as a separate file. This is the method I use because it makes revisions easier (I don't have to search through a whole 500 page manuscript to find a typo that one of my readers pointed out). Instead I can just open the ten page document containing that chapter. Then I copy and paste each chapter into the final manuscript doc.
I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing. What are some of your favorite writing tips?