What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?
– Ralph Ellison
Ralph Ellison took about six years to write his first novel, Invisible Man, which won a National Book Award. His second, Juneteenth, had a harder road. First, 300 pages of the manuscript burned in a house fire, then he wrote 2,000 pages that were pared down and published posthumously.