I recently read an essay by Theo Nestor, describing how you need a nut graf in a personal essay. She offers a wonderful example of how this can be done, then advises writers to copy the format: “It is perfectly okay … The content will be very much your own.”
Similarly, in a recent essay for Glimmer Train, Zeynep Ozakat says:
Imitation is part of being a writer. Just like babies who learn to smile by imitating adults, we must have the humility to learn from the greats through mimicry.
She closes by quoting Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Read her entire essay.
For more insight from the latest Glimmer Train bulletin:
- Writing What You Don’t Know by Patrick Hicks
- Just Add Cowboy by Sean Bernard
- The Monster Scale by Daniel Torday
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has nearly 25 years of experience in the media & publishing industry. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses (How to Publish Your Book), she is the author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), which received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as Digital Book World and Frankfurt Book Fair, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.