Someone asked me the other day how I write - plan things out in advance, or just sit down and write. This is the response I gave (more or less):
I used to sit down and see where things went - for a long time I had a great deal of success (for want of a better word) with it - I found just writing would lead my characters on their own adventures, and things would crop up that I hadn't considered before, and that'd be fun. But there was also a lot of time spent staring at the keyboard, or blank page, or whatever medium I was using.
These days I plan somewhat. I have a distinct ending in mind, a good idea of where I want to start, and normally a few things along the way that connect all the dots. That's not to say that I don't surprise myself from time to time - I think that will always happen. I don't plan nearly as much as some people I know - I don't have (when I'm writing a novel) a hard chapter by chapter breakdown and word count in mind when I start. Sometimes I don't even have everything I need plotted out. I have enough, though, to know the kind of story that I want to tell.
I think if I plan, plot, and layout everything, it kills off some of the creative urge, because it feels like I've already written the damn thing (even if it is only in bullet point form).
There are, I will admit, advantages to both styles. I think at the moment, the hybrid style I use is the right "fit" for me. I take the "sitting and just writing" step before I sit and write more often than not these days. I find myself thinking about a story before I go to bed, or before I take a nap, etc., and make a few notes on my cell phone (it's always with me, so it's just easier this way).
Like last night - I rolled over and grabbed my phone a few times to make some notes about some short stories I've been thinking about (or had just thought about), and a couple of novels (or longer works). I was tempted to jump up and grab the netbook, but I like doing it this way (as I said, for now).