2004: I started trying to write a mostly autobiographical novel, generated a rambling, unsuccessful 80 page manuscript, and stopped.
AUG 2017: After the death of my magazine, feeling demoralized and creatively adrift, I resolved to have another stab at it, so I went to Vermont for a week and locked myself up with a typewriter, in a cabin on a lake, drank way too much liquor, and came back with ... not much.
JAN 2018: Rooting around through Google Drive, I re-discovered the first manuscript, decided to try to bang that into shape, and realize that much of the material had already been picked over in another novel, and lost interest in that, but continued to wrestle with ideas.
JUNE 2018: I had an idea for a story and write 3268 words.
DECEMBER 2018: I stop writing because I need to do some outlining.
JUNE 7, 2019: After six months of outlining, with 56 pages of notes, I started to write again.
JUNE 24, 2019: Dismayed by slow progress, it occurred to me that I could try to write on the subway to and from work. Over the past five days I wrote 1500 words, which is completely not shabby.
KEY TAKE-AWAY: I'm optimistic that I will complete a manuscript of the novel; I've stuck with it despite a lot of turmoil in my life (moving, new jobs, etc), and there have been a few points where I put it down for a few months but I've always come back to it. I have a list of scenes; there's a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I just have to keep writing. Six thousand words down, about 74,000 to go.