Leave it to my parents to tell me that I am a good writer; I know my ability. Yet, growing up with a prolific older sister, I did not believe writing was or ever could be my territory. It seemed like an unknown world; it was akin to a sensuous piano of untapped keys that stared at me with white eyes, black pupils…
That is precisely how I wrote. I kid you not. I personified random instruments the same way a lonely romance writer would, but I, a mere 17-year-old lady, never cracked open one of those shirtless male-clad books.
This begs the question: why was my writing so cliché?
I want to blame my more immature pieces on my love of reading. Books make my brain hurt but my senses tingle, so I read a lot of stories when I was younger. This may have been a double-edged sword: I learned how to write well by reading the works of published authors, but I also learned how to copy them down to the sentence structure. I was not a writer; I was an indoctrinated soul.
But as time went on, my diction grew more unique. No longer did I try to sound like Jane Austen. I told myself – hey, Samantha, don’t be Jane. Be you. Be inspired by Jane. Do it. Just WRITE.
When I stopped trying to imitate authors, I found a whole new way to write: by being myself. It is horrible to read the same thing twice, so it is only my hope that people will read my writing and feel enlightened simply because I said something differently than the author they read stories from in their AP Literature class. Through a bit of introspection and practicing completely self-generated writing, I learned the art of being a writer instead of a cliché machine.
It took time. I have edited my writing meticulously, wrote actively, stayed aware of my cliché trap, and attempted to be myself through-and-through while writing, even if I was a bit scared of how a piece would turn out. Then I would remember that there is always editing. But writing? It’s boundless. I would tell myself fine then, be cliché, and then change your words at your will. I fought my inner editor for countless pieces, only to unleash her on some of the most cliché articles and poems I have written. I told myself that writing from every corner of my mind, whether it turned out cliché or otherwise, was okay, because it was the only way my writing would improve. Inner editor (I call her Edna) will spice it up after the words go in my Word document. After a while, she came to visit me less, because I finally grew comfortable with writing as me; I wasn’t so cliché after all.
Quiet the inner editor. Don’t worry about being cliché. If you are cliché, fix the problem after you write something. But the chances are, if you write as yourself, you may create the most original pieces of us all.
How do you fight being cliché? Tweet Miss Musings with your tips!