In my profession, I wear many hats. Some out of necessity and others voluntarily. The majority of my daily work consists of reading books that have been translated into English by others. The main things I edit are grammar and spelling mistakes, but more importantly, word choice. Choosing the wrong word can alter the entire meaning of the sentence and can therefore make the entire translation incorrect.
I thought my job would be helpful to me in my writing, but I have noticed it is more of a hindrance than it is helpful. I may spend hours agonizing over which word to choose. Which word will make the hair on my reader's neck stand up and which word will cause their eyes to become wet when they hear about the death of their favorite character?
Word choice is extremely important in writing, but I think I tend to over-think it. Instead of allowing the words to flow freely, I try to push and pull them in the direction I want them to go.
What about you? How do you know which word is just "perfect" or which word is just "so-so"?