In any form of art, painting, sculpting, woodworking, etc.(even writing)
I have noticed certain similarities.
Stages of learning:
Admirer: sees something that interests them, merely a spectator in the arts.
Imitator: Sees the art and copies it in their view. It is different by their point of view only, it is a copy of what they see in others work.
Apprentice: begins studying why they or others like the art of one or more artists.
Explorer: begins to experiment with different aspects of the art to find what works for them.
Master: Begins to find their unique contribution to the art, molding and sculpting what they have learned into their art. Takes what they have learned and created something different. The master expands the art.
So if you are writing works that are not original, that is part of learning, imitator phase.
if you are mixing Lord of the rings and Harry Potter you would be in explorer phase.
If you are seasoning your writing with numerous authors without the reader realizing it, then that is mastery.
What do you thinK?