Your soul on the page
This is such a great description of how to write a good essay.
People tell me all the time I am brave to put personal things out there on the page. I don't see it as bravery. I see it as essential, if you want your readers to believe.
Of course, I don't write about everything. There are things I will never put on a page. You have to choose.
You can't have a wall around you as a memoir or essay writer. People will call you on it, as my writing group has. I can look at a memoir and immediately know if it works for me..if I can't feel the wind in my face, the joy in someone's heart, the struggle...it isn't worth it for me. At the same time, there are memoirs that pile on the angst, and it is TOO MUCH. As in life, as in anything, it's a balance. I can't describe how you will know it, but when you are on the tightrope, you just will.
Sometimes you fall. Other times, you make it to the other side.