You're all probably thinking 'what the hell,' right? I'm telling you to be different, and then I'm telling you to be yourself. It makes no sense, but then it kind of makes a lot of sense. It's very easy for a writer to read the work of someone else and scrutinise their own. All of the comparing and contrasting that drives you crazy, because this person is published so they must be how you're supposed to be, right?
Sure, being just like the bestselling author may seem like the best way to get noticed, but it's not smart. Trying to write like Hemingway to imitate his success is not smart. Following a trend that will probably be saturated by the time you're traditionally published is not smart (self-publishing is a whole other ball game).
You know what's smart? Being yourself.
Whose success was Hemingway imitating? No ones. He was the first writer like himself. Maybe there were some influences here and there. Maybe someone before him had the same writing style, the same imagination, but didn't get lucky. Either way, you could be the first published writer like yourself. And there's only one secret. Well, it's not exactly a secret, but it may as well be, because no one's talking about it.
You need to be you.
Write the way it comes naturally. Explore the ideas that excite you -- not the ones people are telling you to explore. Write the story that you would die to read, because chances are others will be dying to read it, too. The only sure way to be different, is to be yourself. Completely. Forget the rules. Forget the trends. Forget the world and write your brains out, completely unfiltered. Write like no one will ever read it. Write like spelling and grammar doesn't have a place on your page. Editing is a whole other story, and it's a different step. You need to take it one step at a time. And the first step is to trust yourself as an artist. Trust your ideas. You'll know, deep down, when it's going to work and when it's not. Write, but don't be afraid to let go of a story if you don't fall in love with it, because what's the point of anything if you can't be yourself?