Advice for Not Myself: Never give advice. Tell stories.

For whatever reason, I recently started thinking about what advice I would give to myself a decade ago if given the chance. Then I realized that was a stupid waste of time. First, because it’s a cliched exercise that only breeds cliched nuggets of meme-abley meaningless wisdom. Second, because I absolutely cannot, ever, give 21-year-old Natalie advice. She doesn’t exist. Finally, once you’ve written a book about a series your worst young adult decisions, you’ve pretty much exorcised those demons anyway.

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Beyond cliché: the things we keep telling ourselves

Few things preoccupy a writer who produces a large quantity of material more than clichés. Some turns of phrase are so ingrained in our minds that when we use them to express ourselves we don’t even hear them. Sometimes, we honestly aren’t even sure if the phrase is our own, or a cliché we’ve heard in passing long ago. In those cases, thanks for existing, Google. You’re really helpful there.

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