EDIT: Parts of the content of this post have been edited for not sitting well with a few here. The parts in question may still be visible in quotes on some earlier replies to the original post. My opinions below are based on my own experience and personal success, and on the vivid results of this poll. EDIT.
This POLL is alive and quaking. Over 60% so far going for the partly planned, flexible flowing approach of writing, and that’s not too much of a surprise.
Before I go further, a heartfelt shout out to everyone voting and commenting on here.
Now on with the analysis (ooohh, sounds so exprimenty :p)
EDIT: This is a demanding process, but it ensures comprehensive results, avoids plot-holes and the focus of the story is the ‘story’ itself with the characters written to fit into the story. Most accomplished writers would prefer to adopt this approach on projects that have a deadline or expected marketing date.
EDIT: This is a lesser demanding process, and for most beginner to moderate levels of writing a means to explore their own creativity and evolve. This approach is what most people aspiring to become successful writers may have, and as a result continue to hone their skills and craft.
Most writers who wish to be taken seriously usually range between these two approaches. Just ask most professional editors or publishers.
EDIT: This process isn’t demanding by far and usually a lot more fun for the writer. This approach is mostly adopted by hobbyists and fan-fiction writers, and usually not those who aspire to make a sustained living from their talents. Such projects may eventually get abandoned for lack of planning and direction, or when the writer loses interest in lieu of a new curiosity or idea.
But there will be exceptions, especially if the writer is ‘gifted’ and can engage their readers, much like the bards of old whose songs and stories kept altering with each performance.
In conclusion, this isn’t a contest or grading system. There’s room for all of us types here on this cool site and in the big bad world. And we are all free to choose as we deem fit.
Now let’s get to writing, shall we? Those stories won’t write themselves.