How do you write with a unique aesthetic and divest from your influences? All I can write are poor imitations. I do not have a rule of writing all my own. Does everyone begin with a cobbled together style, or am I doomed to be a reader but not a writer?
For example, when considering a subject, I can only think of how to write it in terms of how other writers would handle it. At best I create something of a collage of styles, but it all feels like second hand imitation.
So, if you're familiar with Hegelian dialectics -- that.
You'll never create a thesis, but you can create an antithesis or a synthesis. To create an antithesis, propose and then develop either a rejection of or an alternative to a thesis, so, for example, if you don't much like Burroughs, find a new approach to how he wrote.
To create a synthesis, identify a thesis and an antithesis and find a half-way between the two. So, for example, Hemingway and Faulkner are often seen as polar opposites. I think that's spurious, but we'll play for now. Hemingway is often seen as clear, but also stark and turgid in his writing, Faulkner as fluid and beautiful but obfuscating. They are both good, but if you can find a way to merge Hemingway's clarity with Faulkner's aesthetic, that would be an example of a synthesis.
Of course, that's been done. So find something new. Read some contemporary literature.
>write a lot. learn to silence your inner critic. learn to write from a 'deep place' so to speak.
>read enough that your influences aren't readily apparent.
but yes, most artists imitate the people they admire, at least early on.