Tools of the Trade by Darlene Beck Jacobson

Last week I was invited to a Zoom Kindergarten classroom to talk to the students about my job as an author of children's books. One of the questions the teacher asked was what tools I used in my profession.

Beyond the most obvious tools of pen, pencil, paper, and computer, I brought out some "fun" things to share with these 6 year olds. Funny hats, a red clown nose, goofy glasses. I explained to the children that I didn't really NEED these things for writing, but that these things were something that could be useful in starting a story or finding things out about a character.

These things, and anything else around me, were perfect for igniting my IMAGINATION. That is the biggest and most important tool for a writer to have, is what I told the children. I asked them if they ever used their imagination and of course, each and every one of them had something to share about that.

I purposely made this blurry since imagination can often be hazy or uncertain in the early stages of a story. And, just as in life, we may not know what tomorrow brings, but we can imagine so many wonderful things.

So, even though we aren't able to interact in person with the students and teachers who read our books, even though it feels like we've given up a lot during this pandemic season, even though we have been isolating and social distancing and will continue to do so for the near future at least, one thing we have is our IMAGINATION. It's like that wedding vow: ..." for better or for worse, for richer, or for poorer, in sickness and in health..." we will continue to imagine stories, create characters, visit places, build worlds, even if only in our imagination. No other tools required.


  1. I love this so much--imagination, the most powerful tool going.


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