Much to the chagrin of people in my life, especially my wife and daughter, until quite recently I resisted texting. And even after a serious family situation made this modern-day communication method more useful, I continued my futile fuddy-duddy battle to enter the twenty-first century.
Imagine my delight when I discovered a clear benefit to texting, one directly linked to becoming a better writer. Want to know which phrases are tired or cliched? Get your phone, start a text, and use an adjective of your choosing. See which noun the auto-fill feature selects to follow that adjective. I'll wait.
So, if the auto-fill suggests "student" or "reader" to follow "avid" what does that tell us? As an avid reader who also wants to be a better writer, it tells me to avoid the phrase "avid reader". I can hear you from here. Big deal, you say, especially if sounding stale as a writer is unimportant to you. How about as a speaker? Any interest in sounding fresh - or at least, less predictable - when conversing? Try typing in other adjectives or adverbs you're fond of using and see what noun or verb or adjective is auto-filled. Better yet, try "trials and.." or "tried and.." or "recipe for.." I'll wait.
Recognize any of your oft-used, automatic pilot phrases? I bet you do.