I think there is a different approach to writing if you do a degree/Masters in it. It’s almost as though, at the point of graduation, most folk have a perceived idea of what writing should be. Qualifying this because I know a creative writing lecturer, and am in a facebook group for one of the CW courses at a local uni. Some of the stuff I see posted is very…not pretentious, exactly, but it is fairly obvious that for some on the courses, they are still at the experimental and learning stage which means they are sticking to tried and tested formulae in order to ‘make their way’ in the world.
I think every writer needs to find their own style and flavour of writing which suits them, although then you’re battling against agents/publishers who often want more of the same old, same old because it sells. Tied into that, though, will be certain elements that, whether you’re writing something unique or something that fits/follows a trend, are essential in any work that’s going to get published.
The best compliment I ever had was that a reader recognised something I wrote because it was in Squidge-speak. That’s good enough for me, even if it doesn’t suit JW/CW approaches 😉