As artists, I believe strongly that before we identify ourselves, we tend to emulate others. I believe that it is very important to do so. The legendary artists and writers have all established their identities and style, so there is plenty to learn. After a while of emulating our favorite artists, we take bits and pieces (or create something new all together) that defines us. As a musician, I completely relate to this. On saxophone, I will listen to a lot of artists like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker in hopes to emulate their tone and improvisation, while on guitar I listen to a lot of Pat Metheny and Grant Green in order to emulate their style. When I write music now, a lot of the artists above can be heard indirectly touching the pieces.
The same concept applies to writing. Before a writer can establish an identity for themselves, I believe it is crucial to experience different writing styles and different artists. By emulating famous writers, we figure out what works and what doesn’t.
However, it is very important to note that there is a huge difference between emulating and imitating. When emulating, we hope to take the best of what we have learned from our favorite artists, and create our own style based on it. Taking the strengths and having them shape our work. Imitating on the other hand is flat out copying the artists. By imitating, we go out of our way to ensure our work is exactly like theirs, which is a problem. There is no value in having a knock off work.
For this post, I found inspiration in the story of this blog! Check it out: