Monday, August 9, 2010

My Path to Getting an Agent Pt. 4

Did you all have a nice weekend? I hope so. Are you ready to continue reliving my crazy journey to getting an agent with me? Yes? Fabulous.

One of you guessed right in the comments for Pt. 3: I got a severe and rare form of PPD called Acute Anxiety Post Partum Depression. Instead of just being depressed (sad, tired, wanting to sleep, etc.) I was basically having an anxiety attack constantly, 24/7. I couldn't sleep, I could barely force myself to eat (my stomach was too upset), it was horrible. I won't go into all the details, but the reason I'm even bringing this up at all is because so many women are afraid to talk about their experiences after having a baby. They don't want to admit that they cried more than they smiled for the first couple of weeks (or more), or that they were mad or afraid or anything besides calm and put together. They're afraid that by admitting things weren't as perfect and deliriously happy as they thought it would be, that they are bad moms. Which is 100% NOT TRUE. PPD in any form or severity is a disease, just like any other. People will tell you to just "snap out of it," to put "mind over matter," and just "make yourself be happy." Here I was, with the baby we'd been desperately pleading for (for two years) and I was miserable, almost hysterically unhappy at times. Logically, I knew deep down that what I was feeling wasn't true -- that it wasn't really me. But there was nothing I could do to stop it. Thankfully, I'm not the type to pretend I'm okay when I'm not (which would have been pretty impossible anyway with how severe it was), and I got help very quickly. I also got better very quickly, especially for how severe it was.

However, there was definitely NO writing or querying or anything remotely close to pursuing getting an agent for a couple of months.

When my son was about two months old, I started getting back to work. I was feeling a LOT better, and wanted to keep pursuing my dream. I started querying again, and revising the sequel to HIDDEN to give me something to do. (Yes, I wrote the sequel the year before, while I was waiting to hear back from Jodi. I also started writing the third and final book. But now I'm getting ahead of myself.) Around this time I met a wonderful author who has become a dear friend and is one of the nicest, most generous people I know in this business: Julie Berry. She gave me advice, helped me some more with my query, taught me so much about what to do and not to do when querying and communicating with agents, and even more. Meeting and getting to know other authors, or aspiring authors, or bloggers, agents, etc. is one of the most fulfilling parts of this business. Don't you agree? People are so kind and willing to help. (Usually, ha ha.) I have been lucky to get to know many wonderful people along my journey, and continue to meet more and more of them all the time!

Then... one beautiful spring day... it happened. I got my first request for a FULL MANUSCRIPT! I was over the moon. NOW my dream was finally going to come true! I was finally going to get an agent. I'd been through so much, and hadn't given up - no matter what - and it was finally going to pay off. Right?

P.S. If you, or anyone you know, is suffering or has suffered from any form of PPD and would like to talk more, I would be happy to. Talking about it and finding other people who have been through what you have, who truly understand, can be amazing and therapeutic.


Unknown said...

I love learning your path to your agent!!! It's nice to really get a feel for what it's like!

I love the writing world, they take the time to return the favor when the author makes it big, knowing that things take time.

Great post! Happy Monday!

Amie Borst said...

Thanks for sharing your experience(s) with us! I'm glad that you mentioned your PDD. I had a preemie and suffered anxiety and fear after her birth. Thankfully no sadness or depression - just a feeling of being extremely overwhelmed.

I can't wait to hear how you landed your agent!

Jemi Fraser said...

PPD can be debilitating for so many women. I was lucky and didn't go through it but I know women who did. It's a topic too many people aren't comfortable discussing.

Lisa Gail Green said...

I have gone through PPD as well and have had anxiety. I'm glad you recognized it quickly and got help! Knowing what to expect/look for with the second kid made life a lot easier, I must say.

AND I totally agree that one of the best parts of all of this (writing) is getting to know others and how willing everyone is to help.

Aubrey said...

Wow I leave for a while and you write a blog novel Sara! ;) Not that I need to read this but it is fun to hear you put this journey down in words.

Love you tons! And I'm glad I could have been a small part of this...oh on to the good stuff already!

And yes, I agree, Julie is the bestest!

Angela McCallister said...

Thank you for sharing with us. I know it takes courage. I have five children, but never experienced PPD for any until the last one. You'd think after four, the fifth would be cake, but you can't predict if you'll be affected by PPD. Almost immediately after seeking help, I felt better and a heck of a lot more functional.