As I write an article, it’s not unusual for a commonly use cliché or phrase to pop out from my fingers and onto the monitor. I stop and try to get rid of the phrase. Why would I want to use something that’s been said so many times even if it’s a fit? I don’t. The writing becomes predictable and the readers tune out. Oops, I did it again. “Tune out.” Hmm… let’s back up and change that to “readers lose interest.” Kind of dull.
“Readers stop reading.” Eh.
“Readers clock out.” That’s a possibility.
I completed “How to Write Powerfully and Clearly,” and picked up great ideas and tips for dodging those old, tired phrases. But the hard part comes in making a habit of applying the new things I learned.
Beyond Basic Blunders” from Writer’s Digest tackles the problem of using predictable phrases. How many times have you heard that someone was rudely awakened? Woke up bleary-eyed?
Where I wrote “tackles,” I almost used “covers” (overused) and then “addresses” (too stiff). So I relied on the Thesaurus and found “tackles.” Although, it’s been used … it’s better than the other two. I thought I had spent enough time on one word.