How to avoid clichés in writing?

2020 has taken us through a roller coaster of emotions. Read that sentence again. Find anything odd?

Let me tell you what’s wrong with it:

a) It is probably one of the most ironic ways to describe a year where amusement parks were shut indefinitely due to COVID-19.

b) The pandemic has made most of 2020 a pretty mundane year where all days look the same. Something as fun and exciting as rollercoaster is not the best way to describe it.

c) A roller coaster of emotions is a cliche’! It is overused. It is boring. And it doesn’t even convey the incredibly tough year that 2020 has been for the mankind.

Without further ado(another cliche’), let’s discuss the meaning of the word ‘ cliche’.

What is a cliche’?

A cliche’ is an idiom or a phrase that has been used so often that it has lost its meaning or it doesn’t make sense in today’s context. For example: He went on and on like broken record is a cliche’ because it might not make sense to a young adult who has never seen or even heard of music records. In short, a cliche’ is a phrase that has been ‘done to death’.

Why to avoid cliche’?

  • It doesn’t add anything to the writing and readers generally look at cliches as padding.
  • It highlights the lack of creativity of writer to reuse old cliches.
  • It unnecessarily stretches your text and makes your writing look redundant.
  • It makes you sound ancient and makes it difficult for you to connect with readers.

Tips to avoid cliche’

  1. Keep your audience in mind while writing: Every writer who writes for a target audience tries to find a balance between his/her sensibilities and the sensibilities of their readers. One good way to avoid cliches is by reading your writing from your audiences’ perspective. If you feel a cliche’ will not resonate with your readers, you most probably should avoid it like a plague (just kidding).
  2. Choose the best possible way to convey your point: In general, people look at cliches as a flowery prose that doesn’t add anything significant to what the writer is trying to say. In a bid to tackle with short attention spans of readers, it is necessary to convey your point concisely. So every time, you’re allured to use cliches, ask yourself if this the best possible way to put across your point. And, more often than not, the answer would be no.
  3. Put a creative spin on old cliches to make them relevant: One of the biggest drawback of using old cliches is that it fails to connect with younger audiences. But if you just can’t avoid using cliches in your writing, try putting a creative spin on them to make them Relatble AF!
  4. Proofread meticulously: I can’t stress this enough!

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