Your writing is your creation. Your characters' worlds are based on reality, but they're places and names and surroundings you've made up in your head. The words you choose to describe these places are all ones you've chosen specifically. They have your brand on them, your own unique flavor.
So, why is it that an agent can look at a person's work and say, "Cliche ... There's too much of that around already ... I've heard that story so many times before, I can tell you right now what the ending will be."
Weird, huh? We think we're slicing off a part of our unique soul when we write. Then it turns out a thousand other people have thought the same thought and have written it all down already. And we were so sure it was original.
That's why I'm so amazed when I look at my children. Even other people's children. People in general.
Because we're all so unique. Nobody looks at a newborn baby and calls him or her a cliche: "Looks too much like the parents. I've seen this one so many times before, I'm bored of it."
No. We marvel, because each creation is so individual, so remarkable, filled with so much potential.
I'm glad that even though my genes may have been involved in making my children, I really didn't have any choice in how they turned out. I'm glad my children's creations were out of my hands, so I could enjoy the originality of their design and the uniqueness of their temperaments without imposing my cliched, cookie-cutter ideas, my boxed-in thinking, my limited insight, on them.
And I keep writing. To find myself. To find my unique voice and the story that's all mine, inspired by the originality of reality.