A mulligan, in a game, happens when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action. The practice is also sometimes referred to as a "do-over."
I read this post about first novels by Tamara over at Why I Get Up. It really got me thinking about how we all need mulligans. Not only do we need them on our first novels and first drafts, but we also need them in our non-writing lives. (That is assuming we have a life outside of writing.....) But seriously, each of us knows that we are not perfect. I know that I can easily lose patience with my daughter; I am guilty of quickly judging/misjudging others; I tend to give into temptation (especially food) instead of sticking to my set restrictions .... there are many more faults I have.... but the point is I make mistakes. I make them frequently, and I tend to fall into the same mistakes. I do this is my writing and I do this in my life.
Go figure I am not perfect and my writing is not perfect. But I often expect perfection from myself. When it becomes evident that perfection has become unobtainable I tend to fly my white flag and surrender to the path of least resistance. After proving a failure once again, I return to my knees in pray to my Father in Heaven and inquire why he hasn't given up hope on a daughter that continually fails Him. I whine to Him that maybe I am just not meant to be what He wants me to be. I want to give up. When things don't look pretty and sparkly and easy like the lives and the books of others appear to me.... why should I continue. I am just one small daughter.
It is in these moments before my Heavenly Father when He gives me a mulligans. He let's me know that life is a work in progress. He reminds me that the road to perfection is long. He knows I will get sidetracked. But He has given me a GPS, and He unlike myself... never seems to lose His patience when his daughter. And He reminds me that even this one daughter matters.
Mulligans... we all need them. Whether for ourselves or our novels. Don't forget that you can try again.