#1 : I don't outline but I do not just begin writing.
If you outline, more power to you! Outlining just isn't for me. Not in college and not now. I do have a process. I start with a story idea. What do I want to write about? I need a thorough story idea, not just fragments. What genre, what setting, what plot? I even pre-think a twist or 2. Next, Main Character (MC) time. My MC is and will always be a person of color. I have a Latina MC in my Jelena Cohert series and in my YA WIP, the crew is African American (I'm doing research on adding a Native American character). I do not fully develop my character, I do that as I write and he or she does through the story. I do get a motive, a back story and any personality changes or those sort of twists I am going to in cooperate.
#2: Get a program and stick to it!
Whether you are using google doc, Microsoft word or Scrivener type program, stick to it! I did not follow my own advice. Well, it took me a while to get there. I ended up using a free option, Zoho writer. It has a notebook app where I can take my notes. Your work gets lost when you don't have everything in one spot. I ended up re-writing a whole chapter when I transferred my story because I initially couldn't find it. Then when I found it I had the dilemma of having 2 chapters that were similar but not identical.
#3: Organize as you are writing.
Having one of those headlines or outline things most programs have is a good idea. With my program, Dabble and Scrivener it comes built in. With Google Doc and Microsoft word you have to create it. Either way, the chapter and sub headings helps with your organization. The former 3 programs even breaks down your scenes which is great!!
These are 3 tips I have found helpful. I am on my 3/4 WIP with 2 books published and 1 in with the editor. Along my journey I have discovered a lot and am happy to share it with those who would like the information. I have another entry # 3 tips for the Indie Self-Published Author. Check that one out!!