Today is my baby brother's birthday.
It is also the day by which we Americans must file our income taxes. (Cough, cough! Hint, hint!)
These two important days happen together every year. Some years, they are also combined with Easter.
The fact that so many things happen on the same day makes it easier for the rest of the family to remember them. We always know that if it is his birthday, it is also income tax day, or if it is income tax day, it is also his birthday. None of us ever mentions which of those two facts we remembered first. LOL.
Essentially, these two days act as a reminder flag for each other, at least within my family. You can't have one without the other. They're signposts for another important thing to remember. When one of them comes around, it is like a flashing neon sign: THIS IS ALSO IMPORTANT! DON'T FORGET!
As a writer, there are a number of signposts I look for within my writing.
If I see the word like somewhere in my writing, I check to be sure that whatever comes after it reads as fresh and new, not as a cliche that we've read a thousand times before.
When I read body cues for emotion, I read around them for other context clues, to be sure the emotion is coming across clearly. (I also check to be sure that my characters are doing something other than just twitching, but that is neither here nor there.)
Adverbs ending in -ly are a signpost telling me to examine the verbs in the sentence to see if any of them could be more specific, stronger, more concise.
Words written in all caps, or finding XXX in my writing are signposts that I was unsure of the precise word (or completely ignorant, as the case may be). These tell me I need to do more research or search for the proper word. Or, sometimes they tell me that I need to find something within my research that I know is there, but I didn't want to take the time to look for it while writing.
We all have signposts, both in life and in our writing. What are some of the signposts you look for as you're going back through your writing?
Catherine Gayle, Baroness Blithe
P.S. Have you filed your taxes? Don't say I didn't remind you.