gr wrote:You don't have to reinvent the wheel to have a unique spin on something. I am reminded of a line from a well-known director (whose name is totally slipping my mind) about regular episodic television series. He said the reason they work is because as viewers we basically really want to see the same show every week -- but different.
The only point I could add to this wonderful advice is that often, discovering that tweak or spin can be the result of a process. I know that I personally struggle with getting words down in my initial draft because I want to jump to the end where my polished prose is stunning and I am at a major award ceremony in the middle of my acceptance speech.
Go ahead and give yourself permission to put the cliches in your draft. Get it written. Get it *done*. Then set it aside and work on something else, and then come back and revise. When you see a cliche, that's an opportunity to ask yourself:
1) Do I mean to use this cliche, or did it creep in unintentionally?
2) If I meant to do it, how can I modify it so it's both familiar and fresh?
3) If I didn't mean to do it, what is my brain trying to tell me? How can I use this? Does this somehow connect with another character or plot?
With this revision mindset, you're not trying to prevent "bad" writing from occuring, you're encouraging *mindful* writing where you have taken what you wrote earlier and are now consciously sculpting it. It takes more time and patience, and writing mindfully like this is hard, but it is the only way I am aware of to build the real-time awareness and muscle memory of letting your "mistakes" be the veins of originality in your story.