If you are a NOP, pantser, or non-outliner (like me, mostly):
- Set a word quota per writing session, and do more if it's going well. You discover your plot as you go along, so let the words come. Hitting your quota, at least, helps you keep up the momentum you need to keep you in the story and make what you're writing hang together. The pantser, more than the plotter, suffers if s/he takes too much time away from the story or allows production to otherwise sputter.
- Begin each writing session by rereading what you wrote during the one before. Yes! I always do this. Some say you shouldn't, that it's just procrastination, but I find it primes me for today's writing like nothing else. This also serves as a checkup for the pantser to keep from getting really wildly off the track.
- Once a week, record your plot progress. What are the major scenes? Are they in a logical order? Is the main character working on solving his outer conflict? Does he or she have an emotional arc going on as well? If you do this, you can't fool yourself as to whether you really have a story.
- Record scenes on index cards. The advantage is that you can shuffle them easily.
- Outline as you go. Actually, I do this, and if it means I have to give up my pantser identity, I guess so be it. I make notes in the margins about what comes next, using comment boxes. Usually, I have enough to carry me a chapter or so ahead of where I presently am. Bell refers to this as the headlight method, after E. L. Doctorow who said one could plot the way one drives at night, seeing only as far ahead as the headlights allow.
- Write a narrative outline, like a long synopsis, instead of a roman numeral thing.
- Write a letter to yourself about the project, constantly asking yourself WHY as you make discoveries about it.
- Go all out: Write summaries of your three acts, then one-line descriptions of each chapter, then full summaries of each chapter.