Monday, January 9, 2012

What your muse needs

A muse may be something from Greek mythology, but in my opinion a muse is very real.

For those who don't know, muses are the goddesses who inspire those creative souls who deal in anything artistic. While much of television news falls way outside the realm of art, a lot of what springs from your head may be coming from your muse.

Do you have a muse? Well, if you've ever written something and wondered how that script seemed to work out just perfectly when you were dog tired as you wrote it, you've got one. If you write everything according to Strunk and White and have absolutely no voice in your reporting, you don't. Either that or you're ignoring the one you've got. Many times you write your best stuff when you stop thinking and just let the words flow.

Back to those things that work out perfectly... how does that happen? It happens because you've been giving the muse what she wants. And since a muse doles out creativity and inspiration, that's what you must feed it.

When an author spends his whole life reading books, the starts to write his own, he draws on what's he's read. His subconscious has picked up phrases and styles that he's experienced while reading. He's been feeding the muse all along. By the same token, if you're a young reporter you need to watch a lot of other newscasts, and not just from your own market. Watch anchors, reporters... you don't have to take notes, because the muse is doing it for you. Watch without being critical, without looking for mistakes. Just watch and absorb what you see and hear.

Subconsciously you'll pick up things you like, and your muse will sort them out for your own use. Do this long enough and words will flow easier; you'll turn a phrase without batting an eye, your stories will come together perfectly.

Whether or not you believe in a muse makes no difference. The point is, you can't learn by only watching yourself. By the end of your career you'll have a style all your own... but in reality, it's a combination of little things you've picked up from other people along the way.


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