I’ve co-authored a blog for less than a year, and prior to beginning, my writing was natural – which is precisely why it wasn’t good.
Good writing stands on good principles. These principles aren’t natural; instead, they are forged by reading blogs like this one – and quality material in general.
Once you begin to internalize effective principles, the challenge then is to constantly have the necessary awareness while writing. Developing awareness as a writer is an ongoing process; one we must continually perfect.
If you were to make a feast, and lacked mindfulness during preparation, you may forget a few integral ingredients resulting in the meal tasting a bit bland. Your guests would be disappointed. The same concept is true with writing: forgetting important principles during the creation stage will lead to a lackluster outcome.
I could cover all the important aspects one should constantly be aware of – but I’m opting instead to cover the final frontier to exquisite writing: omitting clichés.
A cliché is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel.
The reason we have an unconscious tendency to use them is because they have been repeated a trillion times; they have become deeply imbedded in our brains; not only ours, but our readers too. If an audience finds a page full of clichés, their judgment of the content will decline. In short: reading clichés is reading what has already been written. That’s boring.
In a recent article, my final sentence was “Long and strong my friend!” I then changed it to, “Keep your heart in it my friend!” A small alteration, yes. But how many times have you read “long and strong?” The edited version is much better.
How to Ensure Clichés are Minimized from This Point Forward
You must install a cliché radar in your mind. Any metaphors, similes, or idioms that look familiar and tired – must be eradicated from your prose. Of course it’s easier to speckle your writing with clichés but it’s also lazy thinking, and unimpressive.
Everyone can pluck the mundane growth of clichés out of their prose with a little awareness, and by doing so you will have significantly upgraded your writing.