Don’t go singing nobody else’s story. We need you to sing yours. – Pharrell

I’m enthralled by Pharrell. First of all, “Happy” makes me, well, happy, but more, his presence on The Voice, which I have been watching since its first sense, is genuine and engaged.  While I like the other coaches, I find that Pharrell’s passion and wisdom really strike at the heart of things.

This week, his advice to the performers really struck home to me.  Over and over, he kept telling them that they needed to connect to the emotion of what they were singing, that they needed to sing the story rather than relying on skillful runs or polished deliveries.  “It’s your connection to the emotion that matters.”

I couldn’t help think of the writers I’ve had the honor of working with over the years – the college students who worry over every comma and the more seasoned adults who almost paralyze themselves when they think about HOW something should be said.  So much we worry about correctness, about showing off with our words. We worry about how we are perceived, and we worry about “getting it right.” But really, the only thing we need to worry about is the emotion, the compelling force that brings us to the page to tell this story at this time.  It’s the connection to the emotion that matters.  What you say matters. Say it honestly and with sincerity. 

Forget about getting all the commas in the right place, and forget about how so and so writes. Forget about getting all those big words in there and leave the fancy formatting and sentence structures aside.  Write your truth with as much vulnerability and courage as you can muster.  Because it’s that honesty that matters every time. 

I love when things are transparent, free and clear of all inhibition and judgment. — Pharrell

So be bold, be brave, be honest, and stop worrying about the little things – the way you say it or the correctness of your grammar and punctuation.  Those things are minor, tiny in comparison with the way story can bowl us over and leave us teary and breathless and smiling.

What things hold you back when you’re writing? What do you worry about that gets in the way of you telling your truth? 

P.S. I also love Pharrell’s sweaters and that he is just a tiny bit older than I am.