|O, the messiness!|
These three things happen to be very important for (successful) writing. I realized it's the reason I've been having such a hard time finishing my book. I didn't know enough solid, sorted details about what was coming next. Without that, I felt like I was stumbling in the dark.
Having never been good at the plotting and organization thing, I turned to the Internet. No single suggested method worked quite to my taste, so I wound up cobbling my own process. It's been working wonders for me, and with NaNoWriMo just around the corner... Well, I couldn't resist sharing.
This is that process.
The first week is focused on getting that story idea from your head to paper. Write down your idea. All of it. Every thought you have about your future story and its characters.