I have found one of the best and quickest ways to enhance my writing skills and style is by being a mimic writer. In fact, it is one of the most natural ways to learn the skill of becoming a writer. How better to learn than from the masters that have come before? In a way, it’s an apprenticeship of shorts and gives a struggling writer the ability to get a deeper understanding of how the author manages to create a seamless piece of art.
How to be a mimic writer. The best way to do this is to pick a favorite author, or someone who has inspired you, and read everything they have written. Read like a writer. Pay attention to how the author is writing the story. Then take passages you like and copy them out word for word, punctuation for punctuation. Lastly, put the author’s style into practice and experiment with your own words. I am not condoning plagiarism- far from it. What I am talking about is appreciating an authors work and using it to better understand that work and help you learn.
In the process of doing these four steps, you will pick up the style of the author and understand how their sentence structure works. You will also glean a deeper understanding of the basics of writing and how to properly use punctuation, grammar and spelling. It really is a win win, and will catapult your writing further in a short period of time than any one activity (including your own writing).
Naturally you can have too much of a good thing. I would not suggest doing mimic writing for a long time, or replace your own writing. Mimic writing is a tool like anything else that will help you learn the basics and give you a foundation to work on so that you can find your own voice and writing style. It’s like learning to ride a bike. Once you get comfortable riding said bike, you can take off the training wheels and ride all on your own.