I am a firm believer that the first step toward mastery is education. I like to gather all of the information I can about a new task in order to learn all about it.
I find this technique has two benefits. First, it gives me a good understanding of how to do that task properly, and all the history of how it has done before. Second, and I feel more importantly, when I know all there is to know about a subject I know how to break the rules properly and bend them to my needs.
That’s why it’s important for me to know WHAT the cliches in fantasy are, so that I can avoid or incorporate them as needed.