From The Guardian:
Robertson Davies, the great Canadian novelist, once observed: 'There is absolutely no point in sitting down to write a book unless you feel that you must write that book, or else go mad, or die.' He might have added as a PS: a novelist's troubles do not end with publication. Getting a first novel published - and publicised - is harder than ever before. Once upon a time, a first novel could afford to be a dress rehearsal, a proving ground. That is no longer true. As Juliet Annan, founding editor of the Penguin imprint Fig Tree, says: 'The world of booksellers is such that you have to make an impact from the word go.'
I should be shaking in my shoes right now since I'll be tossing my hat into the ring and spending the summer working on my first novel but once I set a goal for myself, I don't give up until it's accomplished. Here's to self-punishment!