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Not another cliché

pigs in mudMargie Lawson, teacher of the Deep EDITS system and popular writing immersion classes, encourages authors to write fresh. And one of the ways to do that is to eliminate or put a new spin on (cliché alert) those overused phrases known as clichés.

To illustrate her point at a recent workshop I attended, she read a clever poem she wrote that uses something like 81 popular clichés in about 90 lines of prose. She had us all laughing, but also got me thinking about overused expressions in my own writing.

The first step is awareness, right?

Within days of her talk, I heard a newish song by Django Django called Default. The lyrics remind me of Margie’s poem because the song is an endless string of common phrases, but still seems to have a point. It’s so overdone that I can’t help but think the singers are poking fun at themselves and our use of language. Maybe the whole point of the song is that clichés are our default.

Give it a listen, but beware, it’s catchy and just might stick to your brain like mud on a hog. 😉

Do you have a favorite cliché? Or one that you hate? Do tell.

Photo credit: Bob Jones [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tell your friends!


  1. Reply

    I think Django Django are pushing back on at least the level of the cliche but could hint at something more. They have the flavor and possibly the intent, but not the depth, (pathos) of a genre of music that got kicked off in the 60’s early 70’s.

    Keeping the drift of Django in mind, give Harry Chapin, Cats in the Cradle a Listen.

    Fast forward to Alabama’s ” I’m in a Hurry”

    Gotta be careful with the culture we play in. If we let it, it will turn us into a cliche.
    I’ve got a hunch that’s what DD had in mind.

    One more from Chapin. This will nail the definition of cliche.

    Thanks for the reminder of the day when life was crazy with energy and passion and dreams enough to believe pushing past the cliche was possible. The questions we loosed then still haven’t found satisfactory answers. But, neither have they been silenced. No cliche’s !

      • Reply

        RE: Sky pics. Thank you. I just step out the back and door take the shot as the clouds appear at the moment. Currently, it would be a gray sky and lots of rain.

        I’m determined for you to hear the last Chapin song that fought me tooth and nail last night. This one continues to tear people out of the frame. 🙂 Course I’ve never been one to want to do that. Not once. Ever. Well, there was that one time in Lubbock, TX.

  2. Reply

    Wow. What a song. I should never have listened to it. Arrrgghhh. It won’t leave my head. Talk about catchy!

    Well, aside from the fact that I now have a song stuck in my head, I have no cliche to offer, either 🙂 I completely agree with your post, though. It’s way to easy to fall into using cliches. To help me avoid them, perhaps I should just add this song to my writing mix and let it, every so often, remind to watch out for them …

    • Reply

      Sorry, Dave, but I did warn you. You could always give a listen to Dominic the Christmas Donkey. That’ll wipe any other song from your mind, and you’ll wish you could go back to Django Django. 😉

  3. Ike


    I like Tom Waits’ song “Step Right Up,” which opens up with:
    Step right up, step right up, step right up,
    Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore
    That’s right, you too can be the proud owner
    Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
    One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
    You need perfume? we got perfume, how ’bout an engagement ring?
    Something for the little lady, something for the little lady,
    Something for the little lady, hmm
    Three for a dollar
    We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
    And a smoke-damaged furniture, you can drive it away today…

  4. Mary Golly


    I am interested in the Scrivener course. I was referred to you by Rita Henuber. I am a new writer, starting out late in life! I just got a Mac.
    Looking forward to new learning.

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