Well holy shit. I just completed a first draft of a new project... in three weeks.
Sure it's crappy, and it's only about half the length I want the finished book to be, but it's complete. As in, it has the beginning, the middle, AND the end.
You might not understand just what an earthshattering development this is. My first drafts are never complete. They peter out around the midpoint, usually, and I have to start the second draft in order to get a handle on what comes later. Often I don't have the complete story arc until at least the third pass.
To what do I credit this dramatic turn of events? Well, I approached this project with an overall story structure in mind and I actually outlined the bad boy. I've outlined before, sure, but I think having the strucuture to guide the outline made all the difference. Again, I was able to plot the whole thing out. And even though what I wound up writing deviates widely from what I had outlined, somehow, having that basic structure in place kept me oriented.