Cliches oftentimes do a good job of communicating what your point is. Other people understand them readily, but using the same old cliches can get boring.
If you want to get your message across to whoever you’re communicating with (family, colleagues, customers, and everyone else!), there should be a better way to communicate other than blurting out cliches.
So how do you then create a message that’s more interesting?
Keynote speaker and best-selling author Sam Horn released a LinkedIn article about why you should avoid cliches and how to make them more interesting.
Basically, the idea is to take any cliche and rearrange it to potentially come up with something that is a completely different and even more interesting message. For instance, instead of “Great minds think alike” you can turn that into “Great minds like a think.”
By simply rearranging the words, you’ve created a whole new meaning to it. This is actually an example of a technique used in Systematic Inventive Thinking called Division.
The Division Technique works by rearranging or cutting off part of the product or service or the system you’re being innovative with. You take a component, divide it out, and rearrange it somewhere else back into the system. We use the Division technique all the time to invent new products, new services, and new systems.
In creative writing, you can apply Division on sentences, paragraphs, and even the entire chapter of a book, a novel, or a poem, etc. Look at different ways of rearranging sentences to create more impact, more power, or more clarity in the meaning.
The key is to clearly define your closed-world or your starting point, and then within that closed world, you take a component and rearrange it.
And that’s how division works!
That being said, all five techniques can be applied to the creative writing process. The creative act is simply combining two things that generally don’t go together.
To hear more on applying the SIT method in creative writing, listen to the full podcast episode here: Episode 032: Avoid Cliches Like the Plague – How to Speak and Write More Creatively.