Since this section of the forum now exists, I think I’ll re-post what I posted elsewhere, about how I handle writing a NaNovel straight through, from start to finish.
This approach is not suitable if you prefer to write out of order, building your story in pieces then fitting things together. It’s only suitable for writing the first draft in order without going back at all, and is fairly specific to NaNoWriMo, as you’ll see.
In the draft, I have one group for each day, plus at the bottom a group called “Future”. Every day that I write, I only add text to that day’s group, although I may split the screen and refer back to older text. This allows me to easily export a single day’s writing, or get a single day’s word count.
If I start a scene on one day and finish it the day after, the scene is spread across two separate files, one in each day folder, but the files have the same name so I know to join them once november is over.
There is a minimum of metadata in the scenes I think of and write immediately - I set the status to “First draft”, and if I have multiple story threads (which I do this year) I set the label colour for the current thread. Apart from that, I just write; I’ll fill in the synopsis card later.
When I brainstorm and think of a scene that isn’t to be written yet (since I’m writing straight through), I’ll fill out the synopsis card and put it in the “Future” folder. The label colour is set, and the status stamp is either “To Do” or “possibility”, depending on how certain I am that the scene should be in the story. Synopsis cards for the future are arranged in the order I think they should appear. This may or may not change when it comes time to actually write the scenes.
When I finish a scene, I check the future folder in corkboard mode to see if it’s time to write one of the scenes I had brainstormed earlier, or if I think a different scene entirely is called for. If I’m using one of the scenes I have a “future” synopsis card for, I drag it into place in the current day’s writing, set its status to “First draft”, and write it; if not, I just create a new file and start writing. I’ll name the file once I figure out what the scene is about; sometimes I’m halfway through before I change the file name from Untitled to something more useful.