Sunday, January 2, 2011

Clichés—Out With the Old, In With the New

We've rung in the New Year and vowed to turn over a new leaf. As part of your writing resolutions I want to challenge you to man up and join the fight against clichés. These tired phrases, many as old as the hills, are begging to be put to rest. 

Here are just a few reasons to leave the tried and true behind and chart a new path with your writing style. 
  • Clichés keep you from growing as a writer—if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
  • Clichés encourage the reader to miss what you’re saying—after all, familiarity breeds contempt.
  • Clichés are the mark of a lazy writer—only writers who keep their noses to the grindstone will succeed in this dog eat dog business. 

But seriously, here are a few of the benefits to thinking before you write. (Ha—tricked you) 
  • Saying something in a new way gives your writing depth—in this day and time a successful writer is one who can stand out above the rank and file.
  • It keeps your readers interested by keeping them guessing—no writer wants a reader as an armchair quarterback.
  • Finding a new way to describe something keeps your writing muscles toned—no guts, no glory.

Just in case you've caught onto the tongue in cheek nature of this post I want to commend you. And to those who have just managed to catch a clue, I say, better late than never.

Now I’ll cut to the chase. I challenge you to guess how many clichés are found in this post. So knuckle down and force yourself to reread this labor of love and mark my words.  No, really—mark my words—make a list and check it twice and leave a comment with your best guess of how many clichés I've used.

Here’s a hint before you join in the fun and games. Some of these are older than dirt and will lead you on a trip down memory lane. While others are so recent they almost seem to have been born yesterday. So don’t throw in the towel without giving it the old college try. Perhaps you’ll get your moment of glory as you give this post the litmus test.

After all, every dog has its day.