When to Step Away


It took me a while to dredge up the strength to write this post because, while I am outspoken, I consider myself a private person. I am not afraid of what people might think of me. What bugs me about putting myself out there are fake sympathies, irrelevant opinions, and those who care little about me and my feelings telling me what to do and how to act.

When I knew I wanted to be a writer, I was in high school. At the time, my librarian (can’t remember her name) was my biggest supporter. She encouraged me to go after my dream and even gave me a book about writing.

I started writing my stories in first person, but she told me that third person was more accepted. At the time it was true. I hadn’t read many books with first person telling at the time. Most books I read in those years (many centuries ago) were third person omniscient. It didn’t matter. What’s important was that I knew I was going to be a romance author. The next two decades would be spent writing stories that were lost on computers that crashed or on paper that got lost. The dream was still alive, but kept dormant.

In 2010 I became a ghost writing after seeking an outlet to finally realize my dream. I left my job behind and decided it was now or never. I found that people needed others to write their books and I took up the challenge. But I would discover that no one would know I wrote those books and I didn’t earn royalties from there. I felt that I was wasting my good ideas.

In 2017 I was working on a client’s book and found that I was unable to complete it. I was completely blocked. I thought it was a burn-out I was experiencing so I kept delaying the deadline, hoping to get rest and revive. During my rest period, I noticed something weird. I was writing one of my stories and the words and plot just flowed smoothly. When I went back to my client’s book, even with a detailed outline, I began to feel weird as though something was pulling me under water. I felt suffocated.

It took great pains to complete her book and I haven’t booked a client since. I took the plunge and started working on the next phase of my dreams. Publishing my own books.

By this time, I realized one very important fact. I LOVED writing speculative fiction more than contemporary romances. My favorite genre to write is PNR, but Sci-fi in the form of space opera comes really close. I also love writing about magic.

I also realized another important thing about my writing. I never intended to do only Interracial books. My first Science Fiction novel was non-race specific. Somehow, along the way I was drawn into writing IR romance when someone said that the woman in my stories should look like me. At the time I was stumped, but I respected the author and started writing IR.

Even though I knew I would do contemporary romance, it wasn’t supposed to be my main focus. But over the last few years, I found myself immersed so much into it that I have basically built my brand around it using my real name. C.D. Samuda is Carolee Diane Samuda. And that is where my new dilemma now lies. My main followers and supporters are my contemporary readers, who know my name. This being my name, I want C.D. Samuda to be known, hence my participation in a box set aiming for the USA Today list.

So you might be wondering what the problem is. In 2019, my gut told me to step away from contemporary and focus on my science fiction and PNR. But as usual I got caught up in a series I was writing and committed to completing. I also thought that contemporary was where my bread comes from and I needed to make sure I could still earn a living while I transitioned.

At the end of 2020 I made up my mind to leave contemporary behind and focus on what I truly love to write, but again got caught up in commitments that I feel obligated to see through. Since the start of the year, I felt like I have been trudging through quicksand, trying my best to not get sucked into the mire and drown. Contemporary romance is slowly killing me that I feel like I have lost some of my essence … my true identity. And that blockage from 5 years ago is happening to me again, except that I am not writing a client’s book … I am just writing the wrong genre.

It’s taking every ounce of strength I have to complete the current book I am working on and I don’t know if I will ever be able to write another contemporary romance. Have you ever done something that traumatized you so much that you know you can’t go through that again? That’s how I feel.

Being strong-willed and stubborn is proving to be my downfall. Because, even though I am going through one of the roughest mental and emotional challenges, I feel that I need to see this thing through especially since I have commitments to honor.

When do you know to step away from something that is hurting you or keeping you back? It has come a time for me to take care of me. Not only to write what I want but to leave behind the things and people that are keeping me hostage.

An example of that is my husband. The only thing I have ever regretted in my life is marrying this man. He’s a good man and he seems to love me. But one sided love becomes a burden to the other person, especially if you have to “carry” that person through life. I won’t say more about the subject on this post.

So, I will have to make a decision for my mental health and it may mean sacrificing C.D. Samuda as brand and becoming single again.

So if you are an author who has experienced anything like this, please feel free to comment. If you are not an author but have experienced something similar in your work life, please do comment.

Thanks for reading.