How Tam Pham Cured My Writing Problem

How Tam Pham Cured My Writing Problem

“I love writing! That’s something I can do all day!”
[Stares at blank document for 45 minutes.]

“Umm…maybe I need some inspiration?”
[Logs in to Facebook. Writes super long value-packed posts in a couple of Facebook groups. Takes a selfie, uploads it on Instagram with deep inspirational caption. Tweets 20 people on Twitter. Time spent: 1 hour.]

“I can write that post now.”
[Writes a paragraph. Deletes everything.]

Sounds familiar?

You’ve probably experienced something like this a couple of times when you wanted to write something for your blog or some writing project you were assigned to do.

You want to write something, but your anxiety doesn’t allow you to do it. You blank out, just like the blank document in front of you.
As you stare at the white space and the blinking insertion point, they stare back mocking you for being so…stupid.

Confession time…

That is what goes on when I write for myself – except when I’m writing for clients. Now, that’s a different story.

When it comes to writing for my clients, I write with the determination and commitment to give them the best. I hardly face this problem.

It’s strange that although I love writing and do it very well on social media, I find it difficult when it comes to writing for myself.

The truth is, the diving line begins when it comes to doing something for yourself. When you do things for others, you want to do it well and you work hard to get it done. Probably a greater fear of being seen as inept is what drives you to get their work done.

The tables turn when you want to write about something that interests you, or that will be of value to you. You find yourself taking it with laxity.

You know you write well. You have enough information in your head to write that kickass article. You actually proved yourself on social media with the content you post. Social proof’s on your side with ‘likes’, shares and comments from friends, family and random people.

This is not meant to happen!

Now what?

A few days ago I read Neville Medhora’s post, “Getting Your First Freelance Writing Jobs (As a Beginner)” on kopywritingkourse.com and was inspired by Tam Pham. Neville put up a list of 35 articles written by Tam. It was incredible!

How can such a guy write so much? And for himself?

I had to find out.

So, I typed his name out on Google and searched Tam’s profile on Medium. (I should have gone directly to Medium and searched there. *facepalm* Smart ass.)

Tam Pham

Photo Credit: Facebook

After reading a couple of his posts, I saw my problem – I was not writing like myself, in my own voice and my own style.

It’s so easy to write stuff on social media, because you’re writing as yourself. But when you want to write an article, you feel like it has to be in a certain way, with x number of keywords, and the tone should be ‘Forbesy’ (Forbes-worthy. Yes, that’s a real condition. Don’t judge me.) And if you’re like me, you’d freak out. It’s a lot of pressure.

Tam Pham’s way of writing has a natural flow. It’s conversational and you’d never know when you finish the article until you get to the place where he asks for a comment at the end. By then, you feel like reading another.

The way out

The world’s not looking for another high fly, academic article. Leave that for uni. It’s looking for normal people talking about things from their own perspectives in their own words. In essence, people want to read stuff from others just like them.

It’s because when you read something written in a way that a human would say it, it feels doable, possible and believable. Of course, your writing should be good, but it should feel as if you are sitting right next to your reader in Starbucks and having a chat with them.

It’s so much easier to write that way. Why won’t you love writing if you write the way you speak when you talk to a close friend? Why would you struggle with words?

There’s no pressure. You’re not looking for approval. You just want to share what you know, feel and observe. But this time you do it with your mouth closed…and your hands moving, of course.

I get it. Every writer wants their work to be the bomb, the next viral content of the century. Who won’t like those encouraging messages in your inbox (or a couple of love letters)? That won’t be bad at all, right? But if that’s your focus, then writing is going to be difficult.

People want information.

They want juicy takeaways.

They want value.

Give it to them, but in your own way and your own style — the way you’d say it to a friend or some random person on Facebook.

I’m still trying to get over my ‘Forbesy’ phase and tune into writing like a human. But I must say that right now I’m at peace knowing that there’s a cure. If you’re suffering from the same problem, the solution has always been there staring at you in the face – write like YOU.

This post was also featured on Medium.

Author: Vicky Law

Freelance writer and content marketer on a mission to kick ass, touch hearts and pick your target audience’s pockets with my writing.

Interested? Click here to hire me…before I’m fully booked.

9 thoughts on “How Tam Pham Cured My Writing Problem”

  1. Hi Vicky,

    A well written piece you’ve got here.

    I actually thought I was the only one in this situation. Like, I can sit and do a client’s work in 3hours, but can’t craft mine even in 3days.

    Thoughts like “Hey! You can write this in 30 minutes” always pop-up. But still, nothing always seems to happen.

    It just ends up in what it initially is…

    mere “Thoughts” — without actions.

    I think this piece is coming at the right time. 🙂 It’s time to drop the standards, and start writing.

    It’s time we start considering (writing) what we term as “Crap”.

    I believe, “Deleting a thousand word of crap is like a waste of resources. In few weeks time, you’ll wish you’d kept (and refined) that crap…to unveil the hidden ‘beauty'”

    Thanks once again.

    Sharing this immediately!

    Let’s start writing!!! 🙂

    P.S. That quote is mine… tell me if it does make sense. #smiles#

    1. Thanks, Favour! I love your quote, by the way. 🙂 It makes perfect sense.

      It actually reminds me of something Collin Theriot wrote. He said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “The beauty of a written piece is in the distillation.”

      No one publishes their first draft. It has to go through series of editing before it’s published. Every writer’s first draft is crap. Allow yourself to write a shitty article, then edit it to reveal the masterpiece.

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