1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Darned Cliches

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by waitingforzion, Dec 13, 2009.

    I'm simply trying to write a blog post, but I want it to sound professional, and I don't want it to sound cliched at all. I find myself rejecting every possible phrase appearing in my head because it sounds like its been written before. I can hardly deal with two-word phrases. I need to know the exact rules of what defines a cliche and how to avoid them. It seems like almost nothing can be said that wasn't said before. In fact, the whole time I was writing my research paper I was afraid the professor would think I plagiarized because all my sentences sounded like they could have been written before.

    What should I do in this situation? I'm trying to sound professional and poetic. I want my writing to have a powerful cadence. But two problems face me: I'm stuck on words when I should be thinking thoughts, and whenever I come up with words they sound cliche. Is there a reason why I'm going through this?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Right, then.

    You are suffering from a case of crampus superanalysis.

    Or in laymen's terms, you are over analyzing yourself and thus you are stuck. Go outside and stretch your muscles a bit and then come back to it.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good Lord, why would you want to sound like anything other than YOURSELF in a blog? I'm sure your own voice and thoughts are perfectly interesting enough. Don't feel you have to adopt a different persona when you write. If you do, yes, the results WILL be stilted and seem second-hand.
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like you're mistaking a blog post for a newspaper article. Just write from the heart. There are no rules with what you post to a blog (other than forum rules). You sound really self-conscious about your writing. Maybe try just keeping a private journal for a while to establish your voice, your writing interests, etc. Then when you feel more confident, post one of your entries. -Just a thought.- Good luck.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all good advice there!

    stop agonizing over every word... just write what you want to say and when it's done, read it over for obvious cliches, leave the rest as is, if it makes sense and has no typos or grammatic/technical goofs...
     
  6. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    I know how you feel, but the thing is, you are your own worst critic. Write it like you would normally and it will be fine; nobody will look at your writing and criticize it for that. It's probably at least a little better than you think it is.

    Now, cliches are over-used, silly expressions like "it rained cats and dogs" or "different stokes for different folks," or any other widely used, overly self-conscious expression used to make light of things or express onesself in some way that is perceived as "colorful." Or something like that.

    Just write it the way you want and keep going. Not everyone develops a perfect, original voice in a day. You'll do fine.
     
  7. Coldwriter
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    Coldwriter Contributing Member

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    The others have replied with good insight here so I won't draw this out.

    But I have thought the same thing many times. In the end, it leaves me paralyzed. And I don't write. I struggle with voice as well, and think my own is too simple, relying on the obvious choices of words. But it's a growing period. I get through by knowing I have a good idea and it needs space, so I write. In there, flashes of what I know is great emerges and I learn more about myself and how to write. Cant be perfect at the beginning.

    Read and write. The people on here who emphasis reading as much as they do, it's for a reason.
     
  8. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think 'trying to sound like' something or someone is where you're going wrong. Most writing, eloquently phrased or not, will come across well if it is sincere. Of course, the better your ability to express an idea, the more weight it will have. But don't but style over substance because it's the biggest cliche of all.

    If you are passionate, this will come across in the writing.

    I also think if you are spending too much time 'thinking of the right word' you aren't bashing out ideas for editing later. There's a time for bells and whistles to be added and it's usually at the time of the second or third draft.

    On your first draft you should try to get your ideas across in the least possible words. Tautology is very important in terms of reading someone else's work. You don't want to fall into the trap of using far too many flowery words to express something that could have more impact if concisely phrased.
     
  9. Sound of Silence
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    Sound of Silence Member

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    Cliche: a phrase (etc) that keeps getting passed around from person-to-person where no-one can be really bothered to change it (known as 'received phrase' to some i.e. they receive it and do nothing with it): kicked the bucket, cashed his chips, life's a rollercoaster (hate that one), time flies when you're having fun, life's a barrel of laughs... they're just those annoying phrases you always hear kicking around.

    If you find you've got some, just re-work them into your own words: life's a bungee jump - your mate's all stand there pissing themselves watching you fall...

    Most centre around the 'something is...' (relative clauses, they relate one thing to another) and are easy to re-work.

    But mostly - relax. Write as you'd speak, then edit for professional afterwards.
     

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