I think it was Marion Dane Bauer who said that she writes the same story over and over again, always about a distance between a parent and a child. And Isaac Baschevis Singer who said we all write the story of our life over and over again.
Jane Yolen says, “I really believe that to be the best writer you can be, you have to keep growing.”
Therein lies the problem for so many people, writers and non writers alike. Growth is scary. Growth is stepping off the platform dive into the unknown. Growth is recognizing that while we have already exposed one facet of ourselves we are now going to expose another and another and people will be able to see who we really are. To be the best anything, you have to be willing to stretch and grow, and that is a very difficult thing for most people to do. Because it means risking failure. If you have had success, it feels good. People expect a certain quality from you. You try to grow and try something new and what if you fail? What will people think of you then? So in not taking the chance to grow, you limit yourself the chance to fail and be judged unworthy of your previous success.
Success means different things to all of us. Literary awards, financial security, the respect of our peers, being able to write full time, being able to pay the bills, being happy.
How can we not tell the same story over and over again, at least until we discover whatever truths we were trying to learn in the telling? Not to the public, but to ourselves.