Forgive my stupidity, but I am a total newbie to Scrivener, windows, and need to know how I do a first draft, before compiling and organising it into a project? Would appreciate any tips or advice that you can offer.
Um, what are you planning to write? Fiction? Nonfiction?
Keith (KB on the forums) actually built scrivener to be a DRAFT tool, not an formatting/word processing tool (odd how much that gets lost here in the forum). This means that your concept of “project” is a tad off.
The first thing you need to do is determine your "style for drafting and how much to want lean on others (nothing wrong with that). If you want to make it a tad easier, your next step is to start a new scrivener project using the template that closely matches what you want to do. I always use “novel” because … I’m always pretending I’m writing a novel. I find that template works well for my office (work) things too. Don’t know why but … If you don’t use a template just open a new “blank” project.
Your final step is dictated by the first step. If you start with an outline, put scriv into outline mode and outline. If you are like me and you just brain vomit onto the page, open a new document in the binder and have at it. At some point you will want to add your research and/or character info or whatever else you do.
Scriv is not prescriptive in how you work. That’s probably the hardest thing to get used to. You do need to spend a bit of time thinking about how you work, and then you just get your backside in the chair and get to work.
It sounds as if you’re attempting a novel. I’m also assuming that you’ve worked your way through Scrivener’s Interactive Tutorial, available under the Help menu. After that, one thing you could do is to purchase and read David Hewson’s Writing a Novel with Scrivener, available, for example, here. Although nearly four years old now, most of of the book’s advice still applies.