Here are some tips.
Draw a picture if you can. This helps you to turn a problem into something visual and concrete, instead of abstract and mysterious.
Go through the wording carefully and logically. Reword the question if necessary. Digest the question. Note the facts.
In word problems, it's sometimes beneficial to go to the end of the problem and work backwards.
Look for the sentence that asks you to find something, and give it a label, an algebraic letter, perhaps the letter that is the initial of what you are asked to find. Then take this algebraic quantity and treat it as if you knew the answer. That is, go back to the word problem and operate on the algebraic quantity (as if it were a number) by building up algebraic expressions until eventually the problem presents you with an actual number. So you then have an expression and a given number you can equate the expression to. You should now be able to solve for the unknown algebraic quantity.
When you have what you think is the solution, go through the problem again using your solution just to make sure you haven't made a mistake. A common mistake is to add when you should have subtracted, or vice versa.
A common word problem is one involving ages and time expressions such as so many years ago (subtract the number of years) or so many years hence (add the number of years).
Good luck with your next word problem!