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Down the Rabbit Hole

There’s this new show I’m obsessed with. Scorpion—about a group of geniuses working for the government to solve…well, basically any crime that involves computers, hacking, code, possible nuclear power plant meltdowns. Anyway, in said nuclear power plant meltdown, the characters discussed a state of mind called going down the rabbit hole. Others may refer to this as being in “the zone.”

This is a state of mind when you’re so focused basic necessities like food and water doesn’t matter. Showering is gone. Sleeping is a thing of the past. All that’s important is what you’re currently working on. Normally, those who go into this state survive, but there are those who do die.

I connected personally with this idea because of my addictive personality. When I first felt the high that comes from creating something, i.e. writing, I’d sit in front of my father’s electric typewriter for hours on end after school and on the weekends.

During my junior year of high school, my parents bought me a computer. My first time encountering the use of Word outside a school setting. That’s when I went down the rabbit hole and wrote my first novel. For an entire week, I did nothing but write—not coming out of my room for anything. In fact, I don’t remember much from that time. When I try to access the memories, I’m usually left with a black void. The only proof? A badly written novel and a memory gap. Scared me shitless.

Why am I sharing this? Because I know the feeling of going down the rabbit hole. Every time I start a new story, I feel the need to keep writing until either I finish or my fingers bleed, whichever comes first. This gnawing feeling never leaves. Why? Because of the high that comes with creating, with thinking of what comes next—the need to know what happens to my characters until the end.

Only the fear of not surviving another trip down the rabbit hole keeps me in check. I write one chapter a day for precisely this reason. I must physically stop myself from continuing. The most I do is two chapters a day. One in the morning. A significant break in between. And another in the afternoon. More than that and I’m not sleeping, eating, or doing much of anything but write for God knows how long it takes to finish.

It hasn’t happened for years. I think I have it under control. But I still feel that itch in the back of my mind. That impulse to forget the world and just write until my body gives out. Thank God for the distraction of the internet because we might be having a completely different conversation otherwise.

 

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