I'm slowly making my way through Les Edgerton's Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing. At times I'm having some difficulty pulling out the relevant information. The tone of the book is humorous and conversational, and I tend to prefer information that's more straightforward and literal. But there are plenty of gems of wisdom.
There's an exercise in the book called "Clearing the Throat" that's intended to help reveal the writer's true voice. You take a piece of your writing that you like and pick the strongest passage in it. Then you cross out all adverbs and adjectives in the passage and read aloud what's left.
I still need to read it aloud, but I can already see how this works. I managed to use very few adjectives and adverbs in this passage in the first place, even before I went through this exercise, and I bet that's an indicator of why I thought it was a strong example of my writing.
Most paragraphs in the passage had only one or two or three adverbs and/or adjectives. But even stripping out those made a difference. Some of them I won't put back in, because the writing is stronger without them. And I'm definitely now on the lookout for adjective and adverb creep as I write, which will be a clue that I'm straying from my voice.