This entry is part of 15 in the series Creative Exercises

This is a writing tip and bit of inspiration, something I hope will help you get past some of the problems so many of us have as writers. We’ve all been told to avoid clichés. Well, I’m going to tell you why this is one rule you should try breaking on purpose. The answer might surprise you.

Sometimes the best thing to do as a writer is to just break the rules. In fact, I highly recommend it.

writing exercise cliche love

Artwork by Jonny Lindner.

Over the years, I’ve seen in my writing students a certain trend. It’s really interesting, and surprisingly very consistent.

Writers often worry about writing problems they don’t actually have. The fear of a writing problem or error – some writing rule we know we shouldn’t ever do – creates the tendency to overcompensate and essentially commit a writing error that is the complete opposite.

For example, if you fear having too much detail in your story or worry about slowing down your plot with uninteresting details, chances are actually really high that your work isn’t detailed enough.

Nothing to fear but Fear Itself. Really!

We often react too strongly to the mistakes we fear making – so we make completely different mistakes.

If you fear that all the dialogue you write sounds too much the same, then chances are good that they don’t really sound the same but that they all share something else (something important) in common, and this gives the sense that they’re all one person.

So what are you supposed to do as a writer if you’re not in a writing class and don’t have a helpful teacher (because not all are helpful, honestly) to unveil what’s really happening?

Break the Rules, Baby!

Breaking the writing rules does some really constructive things for us as writers. If you have a problem in writing, or a fear of writing something wrong – then dive in at it.

This is a writing exercise I really love, because what happens with my students is always surprising and a lot of fun. You’re going to write a story that is just loaded with clichés. Nothing but.

If you worry that your writing is too cliché, then I challenge you to really go after this one. Don’t run from it as a writer – instead, write the most cliché story you can possibly muster. I think you’ll find that if you do, you’ll truly break away from the typical clichés in writing.

You’ll be able to see how your brain has to be pushed, how your thinking as a writer essentially needs to be rewired, in order to break free of your writing fears.

Visit West Egg

So what I recommend – if you need a little cliché push to get you started – is to visit The Cliché Finder on West Egg. It’s very easy to use and the results you’ll get can be very inspiring.

Got a Tip?

What’s your favorite writing exercise, the thing you love to do most that has helped you as a writer? Write below, and let everyone know – that way, we can all benefit from it.

Keep creating, no matter what.



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This entry is part of the series
Creative Exercises
Be sure to check out the other posts:
How to Write When Stressed and Running on Emtpy >>
K.C. Hill
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