Writing Influences: Inspiration vs. Imitation

Allegra Goodman Quote

Few things are more beneficial to your writing than reading the work of other great writers. Reading and studying the greats can show you what’s possible, teach you what works, and give you inspiration. But once you’ve soaked in all the wonder and wisdom from your favorite authors, don’t make the mistake of trying to imitate them.  

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”

― Allegra Goodman

The moment you sit down to your own writing, it’s important not to focus too much on the work of others. This is your  story. Don’t let outside influences, traditions or expectations get in the way or make you doubt yourself. The best way to create work that is as great as the greats’ is to be yourself. Never be afraid to try new things, establish your own voice, or create your own style. 

Your writing is bound to take on some of the flavors of the works that inspire you that’s perfectly natural and perfectly OK. Without actively trying to make your work like someone else’s, you should find you’re able to use the knowledge you’ve gained from reading to write something fresh and unique something entirely your own.

 
Takeaway Tweets

Few things are more beneficial to your writing than reading the work of other great writers. Tweet This

Soak in all the wonder and wisdom from your favorite authors, but don’t make the mistake of trying to imitate them. Tweet This

The best way to create work that is as great as the greats’ is to be yourself. Tweet This

 
We’d love to hear from you! 
What writers have inspired you? How do you use that inspiration? 

 
There’s much to be said about the craft of writing. That’s why each week on the Abbott Press blog, we’ll take a look at what some of our favorite authors and thinkers have to say about this challenging, fulfilling and sometimes mystifying art. We hope these discussions will help you to further refine your own ideas about writing and to achieve new insights into your own creative process.
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