I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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I had wanted to open a bookstore for some time now, but it remained only a dream that I would pursue sometime many years from now, perhaps after publishing my first, second, or third novel, or perhaps I'd consider settling down after I had spent a year, or three, living on a sailboat while sailing around the Mediterranean. Either way, until that point, the bookstore would be my endgame.
I was sitting at home, in Santa Fe, I had just put my girlfriends kids to bed - you see, she works nights, she's a waitress, and she was working, at the time, at Joseph's Table, one of the best, new restaurants in Santa Fe, so homework, dinner, and bedtime, were my responsibility, only after getting off work at the bookstore, of course. Anyway, I was sitting in the living room, questioning my existence one evening, suffering writers block, struggling with a story that I had been working on for days to no avail, and I decided that I would start writing a business plan.
So I opened WORD and I realized that I had absolutely no idea whatsoever where to begin. I had written short, one page business plans to guide a marketing micro-business, or to promote my writing career occasionally, but nothing to the scale of the bookstore that I had created in my head, in my dreams. So I Googled a business plan template, read through a few of them, considered what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it, and I decided on one that, though extensive, would illustrate every aspect of the bookstore. Down to the day-to-day operations.
And, I just started writing.
I skipped parts that focused on marketing analysis, and demographics, because it would require more in-depth research, and, at the time, that evening, it wasn't something I wanted to explore. If I had ideas I would make notes, and then move on.
Three hours later I had an outline for my bookstore. Parts of the plan, so far, were pretty detailed, ideas about the bookstore that I had been considering since working at Borders nearly ten years earlier. I knew what I wanted to do, and what I didn't want to do, but instead of spewing all of it out right then, I would give myself a starting point that I could develop.
I thought about the plan pretty much constantly. The bookstore that I had imagined for years was becoming a reality, on paper, and in my head, from the foundation up. I sit and stare out the window and see only people browsing shelves that had not yet been built, I would stand at the register at Op. Cit. Books and imagine that I was ringing customers up at MY bookstore.
And, every night after work, after homework, after dinner, after the exceptional hassle that is bedtime, I would sit down, and I would continue working on The Business Plan. I would write, and research, and calculate, and invent, from the moment the kids were in bed until my girlfriend got home between midnight and one o'clock, every night. I did this for months, writing, and re-writing, imagining, and re-imagining.
This bookstore would be a reflection of me, and of my community, and everything that bookstore once were.
City Lights, Sam Wellers', Moe's, Tattered Cover, Books Inc., Changing Hands, The Strand, Booked Up, Shakespeare & Co., Powell's, Op. Cit. Books, Moby Dickens, Books of Wonder...and CommuniTea Books.