Can Ralph Waldo Emerson offer us any useful writing tips?

I’m really more of a Henry David Thoreau fan.  As in, if I needed paper to line a cat’s litter box and it came down to an unread newspaper or a stack of Emerson works, I’d sacrifice the Emerson any day.

Not to say that I don’t like Transcendentalists because I do!  I really do!  I’m a big fan of the Alcotts, Hawthorne,  Channing, Child, and Thoreau.  Just not so much of Emerson.  I probably shouldn’t admit that–but there it is.  I just don’t “get” him.  I want him to get off his butt and DO something.

But I came across an article on this new book, First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process.

What are the 5 tips Emerson offers us writers?

1.  Don’t say too much. Don’t say too little.

2.  Keep a daily record of images, phrases, etc.

3.  Read a lot (as in 5 hours a day)

4.  The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent.

5.  If you desire to arrest attention, to surprise, do not give me the facts in the order of cause and effect, but drop one or two links in the chain, and give me a cause and an effect two or three times removed.

Apart from #1, which really doesn’t say anything–all this advice is pretty well trod over.  I might still pick up the book from the library to see what nugget it might contain about creativity.  If you’ve seen the book, let us know–

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