So this is the way I do it.
1. Think it. In the car, in bed, whilst cooking (ie burning organic matter), whilst watching TV, driving.
2. Note it. Open sparkly new notebook but scribble on post-it's, receipts and lots of e-mails to self.
3. Research it. Internet. Books. Library. Read fiction in the genre. Make pinterest boards. More notes.
4. Plan it Test ideas against 3 act structure, Heroes journey. Construct character arcs. Chapter plan events.
5. First draft it. Head down, fingers blur, ideally five hours per day for a month.
6. Rest it. Go back and do some of the other steps for another unrelated project.
7. Write it readable. Structural quick edit. Smarten it up for first readers.
8. Listen and note. Detailed notes from readers. Compile them.
9. Rest it. Time to digest readers notes. No rushing. Work on something else.
10. Revision/ Rewrite Cycle begins with further readers and rests in between
i)Big stuff - cut (plot/ story/ structure/ pace)
ii)Medium stuff - add (Character voice perfection/ relationships/ setting/ atmosphere)
iii) Small stuff (Line edits - polish it up and make it pretty)
What has made me so much more relaxed this year is that I have three projects on the go, all at different stages, so I can take a break when I reach a sticky patch or get fatigued - and work on something else.
But - some rules apply
a) Once first draft begins, no working on anything else until it is finished. And no cheating.
b) Read widely - always. Usually an hour a day. Inside and outside of genre.
c) Don't be too soft on myself. Sometimes those sticky bits can only be solved by writing them over and over.
d) Don't be too hard on self. Sometimes sticky bits can be solved by forgetting all about them and watching 3 episodes of Sons of Anarchy back to back with half a bottle of wine.