Writing Like Myself, y’all

So, I have a pet hate. It’s when someone says, I write like so-and-so. To me, that’s almost as bad as someone telling you to read something, because “I know you’ll love it.” Even worse if the story supplier is someone you know.

The way I see it, every writer is unique. I agree that one can be influenced or inspired by Famous Author Of Your Choice, but disagree that someone writes like another. We’ve all got our different voices, different personalities. We all write in different genres and different styles. Poems, short stories, novels… It’s too wide of a world for two people to write in a similar way, I believe. There are authors and genres I don’t even know exist, is how wide the scope is.

To be pedantic, I feel like saying writing ‘like’ someone involves knowledge of not only their work, but their work process. Though I suppose you could argue you’re writing in the same way as someone. The word like is also used in similes – for comparison. Therefore, I guess there’s an element of how Writer 1 and Writer 2 write – comparing the different style and such. Sure, you can have two people write the same sort of novel, same genre, but there’s always going to be differences. If there aren’t differences, suspect robots or clones.

Thus, I don’t say I write like anyone. I write like myself. I’m never going to write like my English lecturer or J. K. Rowling or Maureen Johnson. Any of these women is older than myself, and have had different lives, different experiences. It’s life that shapes the way we write, in no small amount, and every life is different.

This was going to be a poem inspired by someone, but I was feeling unique.


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