My mind fails me occasionally to articulate exactly what I want to vocalize. This has been a problem for me since I learned Mandarin Chinese. I think the super-hard-it-took-ten-years-off-of-my-life language crowded out my English. I can't speak Chinese well or English for that matter, now.
Every once in a while when I'm part of a conversation, the right word doesn't come as quickly as I'd like it to. There's a perfect word I could use, its right there on the tip on my tongue, but it won't flow from my lips. What a predicament, indeed. And frustrating, huh?
This is why I like writing. I can calmly wait for the right word(s) to come to express exactly what I want to write. I don't have to come up with exactly what works for a conversation within a split second.
Words are important when it comes to writing... Uh, obviously... :D But the right word(s) are all the more important. One might work better than another--may emphasize the emotion you're conveying with more power. There have been times where I have stared at my computer for minutes on end to find that WOW word.
Here's a tip:
Pull out the thesaurus. Hundreds of times, I've found the right word from that blessed book. Or right click on the word that just doesn't quite work and look at its synonyms.
Also, it's important to ponder and think about the scene. Not jump too quickly to the wrong word when another would work better.
Anyway, what is your process for finding the right word? Do you ever ponder over a sentence for a while until the right word enlightens your mind? Do you pull out the thesaurus? Any tips?