I once read a tip online that said to replace the word damn for the word very in your writing and see what happens. For me what happened was a lot of deleting. When writing a rough draft I think most of us throw in words we don’t need.
Sometimes it’s because we mean to add emphasis, to make our writing more powerful. I’m guilty of throwing in the words very, extremely, overly, etc. Occasional use of adverbs isn’t bad, but constant use drags out sentences and readers will get bored.
I have some other go-to words when writing that I have to go back and delete: that, had, just
I had gone to the store yesterday.
A better way to say it:
I went to the store yesterday.
If you say each of those sentences out loud, you can hear how much smoother the second one flows.
Sometimes I’ve used them all together, then I want to slap myself. For example:
It was the man who had just robbed the bank.
Horrible right? If I wrote that in a rough draft, during revisions I would change it to:
It was the man who robbed the bank.
Or some other variation. When I start revising, I do a search for these words. Most of the time, deleting the words don’t make your sentences lose anything. It simplifies and makes the whole story easier to read.
On the subject of just, I have a specific suggestion. Don’t use it. If it’s in dialogue you can get away with it if you don’t use it too often. I try not to use it at all.
A good way to practice kicking these words out of your stories is to write very short flash fiction. If you have a 100-300 word limit, every word will count. You’ll learn to be more concise and you’ll see the extra words aren’t needed to make the story complete.