Incorporating or imitating?

Where does the line between enjoying a writer’s style and naturally incorporating elements of that into your writing and merely imitating their style reside?  I think we do the former naturally but when we try to do it intentionally, we’re bound to run into trouble.  I read Jim Butcher’s blog and tried to use his formula for writing a novel once.  He says it is the way he was taught in his MFA, but I ended up with something that was just lacking in my voice.  I like the story idea I started with but it went astray when I tried to use his process.  I’m going to have to figure out how to restart it.

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