The creative stage– This is the first draft, where you let your word roam free with your muse to guide to to unfold a story. Don’t concern yourself too much with punctuation or spelling. You’ll be revising and often will delete section while changing entire sections. Write freely and get the basic framework of the story to paper (or word file). Its important to get to the end where you can then make whatever changes to shape it into a novel.
The editing stage– This step includes editing to fix scenes, improve character, and make sure your story is compelling with enough description without being boring, and reworking the plot so it reads smoothly. This stage also adds a focus to your style and voice as a writer, as well as adding or deleting scenes that make everything work.
The polish stage– The polishing includes making sure the manuscript fulfills not just basic storytelling but follows the guidelines of whatever publishing method you’ve chosen. Generally this means one inch margins, with a title page, double spaced, and in a Times New Roman font. Check your headers. Some places want page numbers, author’s name, and other information included on every page. Check your grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Work your story to greatness.
You can often save time with the second stage by knowing your craft. Understand your grammar and punctuation rules, and be mindful of your spelling and word usage.
If you’re practiced enough as a writer, there’s less editing as well. I think this is why most authors suggest to would-be authors to write everyday. It’s to hone their craft. You can’t master a skill without practice, after all.