Being good at metaphors

According to Wikipedia, this is the definition of a metaphor:

A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two. 

There’s nothing more beautiful than reading good literature and finding genius metaphors and similes.  As a writer, I find myself wanting to produce my own ones. But reality hits and I realize I’m not good at them. I suck at them.


Good metaphors are for the mind of extremely creative people. Imagination prevails in this realm.  And writers have no other choice than to develop this skill. Would that mean I’m not creative enough? or that I don’t have enough experience as a reader and writer to produce clever metaphors? Maybe, It all comes to how I interpret the world. I don’t tend to compare or establish similarities between situations. Would this mean that I’m not programmed to create metaphors? Regarding of the answer, skills can be improved. It’s all about a practice, experience, and finding your creative side. Writers are supposed to navigate towards those waters anyway, aren’t we?

So what have I done to improve my chance of coming up with clever metaphors? Whenever I’m writing and I find myself describing situations or settings, I pause, close my eyes and try to imagine the situation in my head. What does it look like? Does the person or objects remind me of something? Is there another way to describe it in a more interesting way? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I see the situation or setting for what it is and fail to produce a similarity that enables the figure of speech. But practice makes the master. I must persist.


Interestingly enough, I found that our creative side comes easier whenever we find our writing voices. That is when we allow ourselves to show our feelings and inner paradigms through our characters. That’s when one gets to be more creative and hence more prone to bringing good metaphors. But our unique writing voice improves with time, practice, and nothing else. When I review my first drafts, I find almost no existing metaphors. In those first pages, my writing is not funny, is not filled with surprises, is not page turning, it is boring. But when I review the latter drafts, I tend to smile to myself more. Not because I’m nailing every sentence, paragraph, and chapter, but because I seem to like my writing each time better. I seem to enjoy my story even more. Metaphors and similes start to appear.

I might not be “natural” at metaphors. But I got the tools to improve it. I only need practice and persistence. After all, everything in our lives is about endurance, isn’t it?

And if you’re striving on  understanding metaphors, then you can check out this complete guide with very helpful examples from Grammarly.

And you, do you have any good tips or methodologies for writing good metaphors?



Published by Carla Doria

Writer, blogger, traveler, mindful of a spiritual path (or at least trying to). I'm also a Happiness Engineer and support people building their websites.

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