I’m serving up this gin cocktail recipe.

Hello from second draft land. It is different here and I’m still trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing. Getting the editing process organized has been job one, and it is taking a long time. Hemingway is famously quoted as saying “write drunk, edit sober,” but then again, as Fitzgerald always said, “do we have any straws for my gin? I need my hands free for my book.” And now we have The Great Gatsby!

It’s World Gin Day today, the Internet tells me, and to celebrate this very important holiday and the entire second draft business like F. Scott Fitzgerald on a Tuesday, here is a cocktail recipe for all of you writers deep in edits out there. Cheers.

The Second Draft Starter

A printed copy of the first draft of your novel
2 parts Gin
1/2 part Elderflower Liqueur
Ice, whole or crushed
Hopes and dreams, whole or crushed

1. Uncork some champagne for finishing your first draft, and become quite drunk off the better part of the bottle. Put the remaining champagne in the fridge.

2. Sober up and realize how much work is still ahead. Read your manuscript over the course of the next week as the champagne bubbles, and your feelings of confidence, dissipate.

3. Fill a glass with ice. I like to drink gin out of copper mule mugs like the fancy lady I am not, but you go ahead and use any glass you like. Fill a pint glass if you want. It would be, admittedly, a generous cocktail serving, but you plucked the first draft of a novel out of thin air and turned it into a pile of paper and that was only the first step so YOU DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

4. Pour gin and elderflower liqueur over the ice. So easy! Much easier than, say, trying to figure out everything that is wrong with your hot-mess first draft and how to fix it.

5. Top drink with champagne, which is now slightly flat, just like your optimism.

6. See the grapefruit as a big juicy stress ball. Squeeze into the glass. Feel marginally better.

7. Stir and contemplate. Contemplate and stir.

8. Forget the garnish. Garnish is for closers with finished second drafts.

9. Sip un-garnished drink over your manuscript. Let the lightly sweet-and-tart booze cool your nerves and stave off intimidation and impostor syndrome as you tackle your second draft.

10. Finish your book.

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