The words that strike terror into many writers' hearts are "Have you finished that first draft yet?". Each of us have spent hours, days, months or years (yipes!) slowly vanquishing the beast and everyone seems to have their own line of attack.
Here's what has worked for me.
1. A detailed outline containing the order of events from the beginning to the end.
2. Written biographies of each of the major characters. My purpose here is two-fold - writing the biographies help me understand their motives and this knowledge will in all likelihood change the running order (see #1).
3. Research into special knowledge. I write historical mysteries so research is always involved. The challenge for me (being a history-lover) is to keep the research as a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
4. Start at the beginning, go to the end and then stop. (with apologies to Lewis Carroll).
The last is the best advice that I was ever given. I have a tendency to polish and then re-polish before moving forward and this stops (or at least lessens) that tendency. It gives me a first draft. First drafts won't be perfect - that's why they're called 'first'.
What works for you? How do you defeat the monster?