The 7 Biggest Mistakes Personal Essay Writers Make

Watch out for these pitfalls when penning your true story

As an official judge for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, I read a lot of essays, the quality of which fluctuated from powerful to pointless. Despite this range, what struck me most were the handful-and-a-half common, correctable mistakes that kept many essays, even potentially wonderful ones, from truly hitting their mark. With input from writers,…