After four weeks of removing was and were, I believe that I have done my penance. Tp comply with the wishes of an editor from a small press, I cut the SOB (state of being) verbs from over 900 to fewer than 300 (leaving about one per page, a reasonable rate, I think). I believe I have discovered not only every use for and SOB (passive voice, past progressive tense, linking verb, helping verb etc) but all the ways around them.

And what did I learn? At times I tended to write too indirectly (such as there, where I could instead write “I write indirectly”); at times I regressed into passive rather than active constructions; at times I could used was and were instead of more dynamic verbs (felt, saw, hated).

But I also have to ask, is it really so much better to write “He felt angry” than “He was angry.”