We all have those words, the same ones reused over and over again. Perhaps it is because you write quickly to get the thoughts down before they elude you. Guilty! Though in fiction writing how quickly does nod, shrug, sigh, and said quickly become words we want to hurl at the wall? All too often, and it’s not just beginning writers who struggle with these. In attempts to get rid of one you gain another.
So what can you do about them? Editing! For me, replacing things from a thesaurus is BORING. However, sometimes we forget that it exists! Word of caution: If you use a thesaurus and you slip a new word into your writing (especially one you don’t recognize), use the dictionary. While the words are similar enough to go in a thesaurus together. For example: Obdurate and unemotional are listed together. If someone is being obdurate about something they can still have emotion. So check your word substitution.
It can be intimidating to get rid of all those crutch words at times. Take little bites. I have learned that little bites are a lot easier to handle than bigger ones. I learned to stop looking at my manuscript as a whole when doing small edits. It can be overwhelming. Take what you can handle. Writing is fun! Take away the stress!