The Cliche

Avoid clichés like the plague.  So advises William Safire in Rules For Writers.  When a writer or speaker uses a cliché, it’s often with the intent of being descriptive or creative.  However, the effect of using a cliché is often the opposite of what is intended.

By its very nature, a cliché is a tired descriptive choice which lacks creativity.  Any phrase used by a bunch, loses its punch.  If you’re going to use a cliché…be the first.  If you use it first, you claim the fame.  Use it second, you’re blamed as lame.  In other words, create the fresh, catchy expression which other people will copy, and maybe making it a cliché. It’s like a multi-level-marketing opportunity.  The first to create the concept and the first to jump on the band wagon, are the ones who will profit he most.  Late comers to an MLM opportunity are like late adapters of a cliché.

This applies to all of your content.  Originality rules.  A well-worn joke can give your entire speech or routine the illusion of staleness.  Fast track your road to success with original content and humor.

A cliché may be a poor choice:

– When you are using it because you think it’s descriptive or creative.  The more over-used the expression is, the more poor the choice.

– When it’s the easy or lazy choice.  Don’t take a creative cop out.   Instead, make your target an original, creative, brilliant, catchy thought that’s destined to become a cliché.  Create a brilliant way of expressing something that has your fingerprints all over it.

A cliché may be a good choice:

– When used as a crystal clear set up for a joke.

– When it serves as a disguise to hide a punchline or to set a false expectation.  What may be considered as a hack choice of words, a cliché, may actually be hiding an unexpected punch line. Its familiarity may be just the short-cut you need set up the perfect joke.  Cliché camouflaging it a useful humor tool.

Break through the staleness factor of a cliché by increasing your cliché awareness. When you want to say that your fans are old, “What I’m saying is my fans don’t buy green bananas.”  A cliché.  An old joke which was funny the first time you heard it.  Look for a colorful and interesting way to say that you have older fans: “I’d have more fans here tonight if we had more charging stations for scooters.”

Set a goal to be the creator of clichés.  Be the first to write and deliver something so magnetic that it will attract other writers and speakers to copy it, and in time turning your expression into a cliché.