When it comes to writing, I have found the "pantalones flambé" approach to work best. I am no expert, hence the term "aspiring" author, but I like to just sit down and write, pounding the keyboard with abandon, tying strings of words and phrases together...I like to write as if my pants are on fire. "Pantalones flambé!" is my war whoop.
Other people prefer to plan: character sketches, plots, sub-plots, etc. I am a perfectionist and a neurotic planner - not a good combination. I become paralyzed with research and planning. When I am writing, brackets are my best friends. If I am missing information or need to do research, I throw in a set of brackets and keep right on typing. That way, I can obsess and lose absurdly long stretches of time researching AFTER my first draft is complete.
Find what works for you and don't be afraid to think outside the established "rules". The most important thing is to just get that first draft down...whether you do that by following an outline, a rough sketch or by the seat of your pantalones flambé, just do it!