I have tried both successfully and unsuccessfully to write orchestrations in two different manners. The first is melodically, the second is chordally. Both produce completely different results. I am just curious as to how most of the people here write their music. Lets divide it into two groups: Those that read/write music and those that play by ear. This largely goes out to those who know the theory behind your music. Do you write by creating a chord progression and then fill in the blanks, or do you write a part out that you may hear in your head, and then "play by ear" the other parts. Perhaps, it is some combination. With much commercial music, you need to have a hook developed. Does this occur after the structure of the song is inplace, or possibly before any of the song is created. I find I hear music best by creating an original piano piece and then structuring the instruments around it. However, I don't take the time to say this chord is going to consist of just a straight C chord, etc. It, inturn, takes me an insane amount of time to write these parts. I wish I didn't hear all of the music best like this. Maybe there is more strength in a chord progression. I have tried, but it is not as creative of a process to me.
For example, lets take a Williams, Holst, or a Shostakovich piece. All of these composers have so much going on with quick string runs, quick flute runs. But, they all seem to follow theory to a "T." All of the winds are usually in octaves. The brass tends to be the same way. The strings have the most complex parts and tend to have stings in octaves as well. Every tutti is a nicely structured chord.
I know I will find it interesting to see how everyone else writes. Perhaps others may too. Hopefully, it will be an interesting enough topic that it can be a learning experience for many others as well.