In general, years one to five of the time line consist of bands forming, bands breaking up, new bands forming, making demos, more demos, adding new band members, writing songs, and gigging. In years four through six, things start to gel. You make breakthroughs in the songwriting, the lineup stabilizes, you find the right people, and you begin to know how to record correctly. That is generally about the time you find a manager who begins to recognize your potential, who starts to believe in you and falls in love with your music. After that, it usually takes a few more years to refine the music, make the right demo, find the right showcase, and develop the right relationships to get you to a major label. Upon signing, it usually takes two more years to release a record nationally.