I have been following the method to the letter for 5 months now. I finished my grammar book and learned the top 1000 words, so the next step is to read a book alongside an audio book. Gabe says that at this stage you should be able to read a book and learn words by context while enjoying the story. He says to read a book that you've read before in English. Since I haven't read a fiction book in 20 years, I chose instead to read the summary in English on SparkNotes.
I read the first chapter alongside the audio book and... I didn't understand anything. Not a single sentence. I know a lot of the words. They are the same words that appear on the 3900 flashcards I created. Those flashcards take me 1-5 seconds to answer, so when they are put together in a fast sentence, they go in one ear and out the other.
Since I am done with my grammar book and the first 1000 words of my frequency dictionary, I am just now starting to write my own essays. This way I can keep producing new cards, and essay writing is an important part of the method. But I'm not optimistic that this will work.
I also study a lot. 30 new cards per day takes me about 1 hour if I stay focused and go through them quickly. The card creation process is long to. It is not unusual for me to spend 1 hour to create 30 new cards. I have to find a good sentence, find pictures, snip the conjugation chart, etc.
I'm learning Spanish. On page 9 of FF, Gabe says that he suspects advanced French would take 5 to 8 months practicing 30-45 minutes per day. Here I am sitting at at 5 months and 4 days, practicing for 1 hour per day, learning 30 new cards 7 days a week, and I'm not even close.
Did I fail?