Manufacturing Your Muse: Mirror the Greats


Last week, you learned about consistency and different ways you could be consistent in your writing life. Have you been working on writing every day? Try the three different ways from last week’s post, or create an approach that works best for you. I’ll repeat this often through my writing tip posts. There is no right way to write your novel, but there is your way. You just need to find your way. With that, even if you’ve built the healthy habit of writing every day, you may find yourself back in the gutters with standing water and mosquitoes. Another technique to add your Muse building toolbox is to mirror the greats.

Who Are the Greats?

When you hear of the greatest writers, who do you think of? I know for many people names like Hemingway, King, Tolstoy, and many others. But I don’t want you to limit your list of greats to the names of everyone else’s. Your list of greats should be the authors you love the most. Some you know why you love them, while others, you just haven’t been able to pin it down yet. Any way I want you to select a few books/authors (I’m so tired right now that I almost typed out slash instead of “/”) that are your favorites, and some works that really inspire you. Set them aside on your desk, or approximation of a desk, and review the below ideas for what to do next.

Copy and Paste

No, don’t plagiarize, this is not something you’re going to claim as your own. This is an exercise recommended by some of my creative writing professors. The overall aim of manufacturing your muse is to keep you writing as often as possible and enjoying it. Go to your favorite chapter, introduction, or any part of a novel and select a paragraph you particularly like. Do you have it there? Now, you’re going to handwrite just that single paragraph in a notebook. We all know you probably have an extra one somewhere. The goal is to copy it word for word.

How does copying someone else’s writing word-for-word manufacture your muse? Think of it like a jump start to your writer brain. Some of you have been writing for a long time or a short time. Either way, now that you’ve gained even the smallest writing experience, you know you can do it. Copying the work of those that inspire you can re-ignite your excitement, take your mind off your work long enough to push past a mental barrier, and remind you of your goals. It’s a simple exercise, and doesn’t have to be a long one. Use this on the days you get to your writing area and don’t feel like writing. Just copy something down and see if that will kick-start your writing brain.

Imitation, the Sincerest Form of Flattery

We can use the imitation exercise for long- or short-term implementations. Let’s address the short-term implementation of imitation first. Find a passage in your collected texts that speaks to you the most. Read over that paragraph, page, or chapter a few times to get a feel for the material. Now, write your story with the same tools used by that author. What you’re going for here is mimicking the tone, flow, and structure of the talented author you’ve selected, but putting their formula into your works. The Imitation exercise may take a few attempts before you could compare it to that person’s work, but it may help roll that boulder of procrastination over the peak and give you momentum into your story.

The longer term approach is for those who want to write a book like their favorite author. I wish I could remember where I got this part from. It was in a craft book somewhere, but it’s a concept to work with. The idea is to collect a hefty amount of novels from your beloved author and, over the course of a year, read only their novels. Newer authors may not give you as much material, but reading and studying their work can help you in the long-term goals of getting a book out there that sounds like you but also Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, or Jane Austen. Whoever that author is, read them, and read them a lot.


Above are just a few ways to manufacture your muse by following the greats. From a little handwritten control+c and control+v to emulation, there’s a saying that success leaves clues (Jim Rohn). I encourage you to read the classics, but if you don’t connect with all of them, that’s okay. There’s a reason that not everyone loves the books on the New York Times Best Seller list. Drop your favorite books/authors in the comments below. I really enjoyed writing this post, so I hope you enjoy it as well. I may update this post in the future as I find more ideas in this area, and I’ll announce any updates in my monthly newsletter. Check in next week for more tips on manufacturing your muse.

As always, keep writing, keep learning, and stay fresh, my nugs.

Previous: Manufacturing the Writing Muse: Consistency

Next: Location, Location, Location

2 thoughts on “Manufacturing Your Muse: Mirror the Greats

  1. Pingback: Manufacturing the Writing Muse: Consistency – Myers Fiction

  2. Pingback: Manufacturing Your Muse: Location, Location, Location – Myers Fiction

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