That is the question…
As an Expert Author, sometimes it feels like it’s all been said before. “Nothing new under the sun,” as it were. But it’s crucial to use your unique writer’s voice in order to get your specific point across. So consider these points before deciding whether or not to pepper your articles with clichés.
- Using a cliché occasionally can be an effective tool to engage a reader, particularly if it’s used ironically or comically.
- You can add to a cliché to make it interesting – or humorous – to your reader: “He was trying to avoid the 800lb gorilla in the room… when it sat on him.”
- If using a cliché is the best way you have to express your thought, then try and rebuild it in your own way. For example, instead of saying, “Get your foot in the door,” a commonly-used business cliché, try something like, “Getting your business started can be tough, but once you start opening doors, don’t be shy about wedging that first foot in…”
Not to Cliché:
- Ask any English teacher – or newspaper editor – whether or not you should use a cliché to start off an article and you will get a resounding “NO!” in reply.
- Clichés all convey exactly what they want to the reader. Your reader will know exactly what you mean if you use one, but unfortunately, you are missing a valuable opportunity to engage your readers by giving them something flat that they already know.
- Author and entrepreneur Michael Masterson writes:
“When a prospective customer reads your copy, you want to get him excited about your product or service. You want to say something fresh and tantalizing to engage him. But when you use clichés, something else happens to your prospect. A little switch inside turns him off. He says to himself, ‘I know this already’ ‘I don’t need to give it any more attention.'”
(3) Ways to Avoid Clichés:
- Write how you would speak. If you are explaining a process to your reader, write it out as you would say it to a friend. Go through the steps and be as clear as possible.
- Be descriptive. Take the time to describe what you are thinking, you might find your own descriptions are much more interesting to read than any cliché would have been.
- Mix them up. On occasion, it is fun to twist a couple of clichés into one – in order to surprise your reader and make it fun to think about.
So, who’s to say what’s right or wrong? In my humble opinion, even if you have the best of intentions, your writing is where the rubber hits the road… and we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
What’s the bottom line? I guess the writing’s on the wall. If you’re stuck like glue on clichés you’re barking up the wrong tree. Mark my words, it’ll come back to bite you at the end of the day if you put all your eggs in one basket.
It goes without saying that advice like this will usually cost you a pretty penny. Not from the staff at EzineArticles – for us it’s all in a day’s work. So get the lead out! Go write and submit your next set of original articles. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did. We guarantee your efforts will be paid back in spades.
Just a little food for thought.*
* For those of you who are counting, that’s 20 clichés in four paragraphs. Not bad, eh? ;-)