Just is such a little word. If you look it up, it has three basic meanings: fair or morally right, exactly, and recently. But many of us overuse it in places that don't fit these definitions. We use it to mean only, to limit the strength of a statement. We shouldn't be limiting the strength of our statements! We're writers. We should write what we mean.
Right? Right. It's just that... And OMG there are two words that get overused! Just and that.
There are more of these horrible little words, too. Really, quite, well, but, lots. There are probably many more and we all have our own quirky phrases that we over use. My first book contained way too many "with that, she..."
Here's my writing/editing tip for the day. Make a list of the common overused, useless words. Add to it when a critique partner comments on a word you didn't realize populates your ms with annoying regularity. Then, rather than keeping an eye on the list while you write, take your full ms and search on those words one at a time. Decide if the sentence is stronger without or if it should be reworded. By the time you've gone through a full ms, you'll be quite (another one!) sick of the word and either quit using it when not appropriate, or at least edit while you write. Soon, you'll have broken yourself of the habit. If you don't want to think to that level when writing (it can slow you down), then just (oops, I would have deleted that just, but left it in as another example) go through the list when you edit. Whatever works for you.
I just (maybe appropriate here, but not required) searched my 44k WIP. 149 justs. One page had 5 of them! Is there a right number? No, but I'm pretty (another overused word) sure I'll be reducing them. Time for another full ms blitz on just! Done - down the 43.
Now for the J horse of the day. Jackson isn't one of mine, but belonged to a lady that boarded with us. She bought him for her 50th birthday, her first horse. He was perfect for her. Old enough to have some sense but energetic enough to give her a good ride. Horses like this are worth their weight in gold (ugh, now that's an overused cliché for sure!)