Sometimes I wish I'd never heard of cliches. I wish no one ever told me they represented poor, lazy writing, and that they should be avoided. Because even though I don't fill my pages with them, having them available would sure make my life simpler sometimes. Take for example: He was as excited about the meeting as a kid on Christmas morning.
Having read that simile, we all know he is very excited indeed. But we also know that the writer (me) was taking the easy way out in making that point. So I highlighted that sentence in the draft, knowing I have to come back to it. When I do, I need to choose a metaphor that not only shows the excitement, but that tells something about the personality of the narrator.
A junkie about to get a fix. A teacher on the first day of summer vacation. Band mates on the first night of their big world tour. A woman about to give birth.
The fact is, my character wouldn't necessarily come up with of all of these. And, they don't always represent joyful anticipation, actually. Some of these might be used to indicate a sign of nervousness or depression depending on the context.
When I finally come up with something to put in my highlighted section, it will probably end up being a mere ten to twenty words, but those words will make the whole piece much stronger than if I'd stuck to the obvious cliched description. It will be worth it. But, boy, oh boy, coming up with the right combination of non-cliches is sometimes like pulling teeth! ;-)
P.S. Just so you know, the metaphor isn't standing alone as illustration. I'm using it to show that what everyone sees about a character and what the protag knows about him aren't the same thing.