99U had a post today critical of the many articles that are headlined something like "How to Innovate the Steve Jobs Way" or "How to Think Like Warren Buffet."
It brought to mind how often writers see similar articles: "How to write like J. K. Rowling" (or another classic or currently popular writer).
Sometimes they focus on the particular and quirky habits of the writer in question--that they can only write between the hours of six and nine in the morning, or only in hotel rooms, or that they drink only green tea while writing.
I do think we can learn from successful writers; that's why I wrote a book called Your Creative Writing Masterclass, in which I gathered the writing advice of more than 100 successful authors, classic and current.
However, using any one writer as your model is rather silly because the things that shape a writer include many that nobody else will ever duplicate. Certainly, go ahead and learn from Chekhov's lean but vivid descriptive style. But unless you can figure out a way to be born in 1860 in Russia, have a physically abusive father, become a doctor and match the thousand other events that shaped the man and his writing, you'll never master "How to Write Like Chekhov."
The most important thing we bring to what we write is our own perspective. My gripe with a lot of recent mainstream films is that whatever personality might have been reflected in the screenplay was eliminated by the time the movie reached the screen.
Fortunately, there are still independent films and off-network TV series that value that personality. One example is a series I missed when it was first on, but am currently enjoying, True Detective, written by Nic Pizzolatto. I can detect the influence of a number of crime writers in that series, but the result is Pizzolatto's.
First and foremost, write like yourself.