I find that using a thesaurus when I write is extremely helpful. I vary in my search between a right click in my Word document, internet search, and picking up one of the three printed copies I own. This method is helpful because my vocabulary is lacking for someone who wants writing to be a profession and I suffer from that thing where you can’t recall the word you need, even if you know it, that often results in me describing everyday objects to my husband who then has to interpret what I’m trying to say. There’s a word for it, but I can’t recall. I have always endeavored to push through my technical and mechanical shortcomings with writing and to make up for them in genuine passion for storytelling.
But there is a trick to using a thesaurus that started from my genuine insecurity in my own understanding, but that I now realize is an actual piece of writing advice. The trick with using a thesaurus is to always, also, use a dictionary.
It may seem obvious, but even I still misuse words because I neglect to look them up beforehand. A word can share meaning and abstract definition, but may not be interchangeable. Connotations can be different–which is a word I just looked up to double check that I was indeed using it correctly–and different connotations means that some words won’t work for what you’re trying to say.
A thesaurus can be really helpful. I often go on thesaurus treasure hunts when I use the internet. Where I start with the closest word I can think of to what I want and then click around from there. I usually go through a few pages of searching before I find the word I’m looking for, and then I double check with the dictionary that it will work in context.
You may still get words wrong, but that’s what editing is for.