Seriously, I mean it. Drop everything you are doing, close all your extraneous programs, put on your editing music and open your most recent manuscript. Now using your "find feature" in your writing software (most have them, in MS Word 2007 it can be found under the "Home" tab to the far right hand side). Type in the Find box,"feel." It is the most insanely overused word ever! Seriously. In my 80,000 word manuscript I found almost 200 instances of feel, felt, feeling. There are better ways of expressing "I felt" than using "I felt." And guess what else? In many instances you can actually delete that little word and your sentence still makes sense. Really. Try it. And if that doesn't work, how better can you write that sentence without using "I felt"?
I only left a few instances of this word in and it was in places where the phrase is so ingrained in our vernacular that it just seemed silly to try to alter it. One instance was "How are you feeling today?" We say that all the time so why not use it? But the word feelings can be said so much better with the word emotions. I am amazed at not only how many times I used that word (or variation thereof) but how well-entrenched it is in our daily speech. Another example where I used feel too often was "The room felt hot." Um, what about just "The room was hot"?
So why are you still sitting here reading this? Go. Go edit. You know you want to now.
A special thanks goes out to RebeccaJoym for her tweet yesterday. She is the author of Infinite Days and blogs here.
Oh and when you are finished with feel/felt, try could and then pulled. I'll post more as I think of them (or share some you know.)