Note: The following article is based on a recent conversation I had with a writer I mentor regarding style. While it’s been heavily edited to read like an article, this is the gist of what I said.
There’s an important step on the way to developing your own style and voice as a writer: learn how to write good prose. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people think they can sidestep this requirement altogether. Sure, it’s difficult. Anything worth doing is difficult. Anything worth doing will make you stretch, both as a student of the craft and as a person in general. The good news is that much of this process is well-documented by masters of the craft. It’s simply a matter of allowing yourself to learn and grow.
But there’s a pitfall along the way. And that pitfall will guarantee you learn and improve the least. You’ll know you’ve fallen into it when you’re tempted to chalk everything up to a “stylistic choice”.