One of the reasons for this is my love of adverbs. And when I say love, that's an understatement. I used to stick them everywhere, usually after a dialogue tag to "enhance" what the speaking character is feeling/doing/saying/etc. It wasn't until I had gotten some awesomesauce CP's that I saw the downfall to an overage of adverbs.
Let's back up for a second. What IS an adverb, exactly? Well lucky for you, I just happened to have an example:
Generally, if a word answers the question how, it is an adverb. If it can have an -ly added to it, place it there.
She thinks how? slowly.
She is a slow/slowly thinker.
Slow does not answer how, so no -ly is attached. Slow is an adjective here.
She thinks fast/fastly.
Fast answers the question how, so it is an adverb. But fast never has an -ly attached to it.
We performed bad/badly.
Badly describes how we performed.
Example above, as well as other examples, can be found here.
It wasn't until I had someone read the chapters of my current WIP that I realized WHY the overage of adverbs can actually HURT the story, rather than enhance it. The reader's mind is systematically programmed so that we fill in the blanks to things that aren't there and provide the missing pieces to an otherwise unfinished puzzle.
It's called imagination.
If we deprive the reader of this chance to help mold in their mind what's going on in the story, what the characters are saying, how they're reacting to something or someone, and if everything described is showing them the HOW, it can cause their interest to wane because everything is already being given to them instead of allowing them to engage with the story on their own. Using too many of my beloved adverbs takes away from the story because the reader may subconsciously focus on these minute details instead of focusing on the story and losing themselves in the actual reading.
I have to admit, I was rather defensive at first when my CP Lori pointed out the majority of my beloved adverbs when she first started reading my chapters. But then I went back to all my favorite books and pored through them to kind of educate myself on what she was talking about and you know what? She was absolutely right. I never paid any attention to the adverbs or lack thereof when I was actually reading my favorite books, but that was because they were used only to enhance the story and never to overpower it. I was engaged in the STORY itself, and going over to read them from a writer's POV definitely helped me to understand some of the things that I still need to learn in my own writing process.
Have any of you ever had the same problem with overusing adverbs? Do you still do it? Why or why not?