Good word choice in writing is important for clarity and to make sure each of the ideas presented in the piece are understood by the reader. The words chosen in different kinds of writing can vary depending on the tone and voice of the article, the audience for whom it is intended, and the emotional response the author is trying to elicit from the reader. Word choice in writing can help to give the reader a complete sensory experience, and can make the piece itself feel more lyrical and enjoyable to read.
One of the best tips for word choice in writing is to always keep balance in mind. This generally means a balance between specific, concrete descriptions versus more general ideas. For instance, some writers like to provide extensive detail and descriptive, flowery language for every single thing in a story, from the sound of the rain outside all the way down to the doorknob of the house. Rather than really putting the reader in the story, this often gets tedious. The best writers, rather than describing everything in minute detail, choose words that offer a more broad, abstract picture for certain things, and allow the reader to fill in unnecessary blanks.
Some inexperienced writers like to write with a thesaurus nearby so they can replace simple words with larger, more complex words to make their writing more "impressive." Though in some instances a thesaurus can be a helpful tool for finding more appropriate synonyms, it is important to only do this in moderation, and to refrain from using words that are unfamiliar. It is not necessary to use a lengthy, pretentious word when a simple one will do. Often, the best writers are able to use simple, concrete words to get their message across. Also, this is a good time to consider the audience; don't use technical jargon, for example, if the piece of writing is intended for a more general audience; by the same token, do not use slang or colloquialisms in a college research paper.
Another thing to keep in mind when considering word choice in writing is the connotation inherent in certain words. Though "slender" and "skinny" may technically mean the same thing, for example, the first has a positive connotation while the second has a more negative connotation. This is also true when using figurative language to describe something in a sensory way, or to evoke a certain emotion. Word choice in writing goes far beyond the simple dictionary definition and into the hidden meanings that every word has.