Hi, everyone! I’m back with some more self-doubt fighting words. So what do I have for you today? Well, today I will be discussing how to tell the difference between self-doubt and gut feeling. Throughout my writing journey, I have experienced both. However, while self-doubt is a pain and often gets in the way, gut feeling is something you shouldn’t ignore, and this is why today we will be looking at how to tell the difference between the two.

Before we can try to tell the difference between self-doubt and gut feeling, we need to know what each one is. What is self-doubt? Self-doubt is the lack of confidence and belief in yourself and your abilities. You fear that what you are doing is wrong, even when you don’t have a valid reason to believe so. What is gut feeling? Gut feeling is the feeling that something is wrong, but you can’t figure out what. However, you are sure that there is something wrong with your story or poem. It’s less about you as a writer and more about your individual project.

As you can see, it is quite easy to get the two mixed up, so how do you tell the difference? Well, I have come up with five tips to help you:

What to do:

  • Allow other people to read your story. However, you need to make sure that you don’t tell your readers that you feel something is wrong with your story; you don’t want to lead them.
  • Put a story away for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes. Is the issue still there? Sometimes you just need time away from a story because if you stare at something long enough, it’s easy to see mistakes, even when they are not there.
  • See if the doubt is about you as a writer or a particular story or poem. Do you feel this way about all of your stories or is it just the one. Submission Phobia will also convince you that your story isn’t ready to submit. If the doubt is about you as a writer, then you’re dealing with self-doubt. However, if it’s about the story (e.g. the ending doesn’t feel right), then you might need to do another edit. I would suggest a break from the story before doing this. From my experience, you can see mistakes better after a break.
  • Try to figure out what is wrong. This isn’t easy, but for you to be sure that there is an issue with your story you need to know what it is. So to figure out what’s wrong, you can ask questions. The questions to ask are why (e.g. why does the ghost haunt the main character?), what (e.g. what’s the theme or message behind the story?), how (e.g. how did the killer get into the house?), who (e.g. who is the main character? And not just the name but who are they as a person.), and when (e.g. when did the main character discover the killer?)
  • Start believing in yourself. This isn’t easy (trust me, I know), but you need to believe that you can write, and instead of putting yourself down focus on ways to improve yourself and your work. Once you do this, then you’ll soon be able to differentiate between self-doubt and gut feeling.

So there you have it, five ways to tell the difference between self-doubt and gut feeling. I hope they help. It is difficult, and sometimes self-doubt can disguise itself as ‘gut feeling’, but all you can do is keep writing and not allow fear to stop you from succeeding.

To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” ― Suzy Kassem


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About Nicole Simms

Nicole J Simms is a UK horror writer. Her stories have been published on websites, such as Spinetinglers, where she won second place. Her story ‘The Snowflakes of Time’ can also be found in Firewords Quarterly Issue 4 magazine. Even though she is open to many genres, she prefers to write horror, crime, and fantasy stories. When she’s not writing, she loves to bake. You can find her work and latest news at, and keep up to date with her writing journey via her Facebook page.

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