There is nothing wrong with "stealing" if you think of it in its widest element. Writing teachers always talk about "reading the greats." As a student you're looking for craft—how do they do that? how did that happen? Why did they do that? Reading is invaluable. Are you influenced? Absolutely. How many songwriters have said they have emulated the songs of Lennon and McCartney? So, "stealing" is a provocative word and it might define a bit of this process. But it's not exactly "stealing." That is for those who know the difference.

And as far as formulaic writing (like advertising) -- I simply abhor it. But when something "sells" the big publishers rush to find more just like it. That's business. Not art. Still, most writers who truly care about literature -- whether we are "stealing" or not -- are striving toward some level of "art." And that's all we can do. And getting a little help from the greats? Well, there's nothing wrong with that.

Expand full comment
Sep 14Liked by Jen Knox

Emulating someone else's writing (with attribution!) is like dipping a toe in the water of creativity. Finding one's own voice -- through honest examination of experience and the feelings/learnings that come from that experience -- is life-giving. Thanks for this post, Jen.

Expand full comment