Personal writing tips

7 Top Personal Writing Themes

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
William Wordsworth

As a personal writer, your goal is to create a shared emotional experience with your audience.

Pathos describes your ability to evoke reader emotions but to do that you need to be aware of the wide range of emotions, decide which emotions to evoke, and practice evoking them in your readers.

Start with your emotion. What made you sad, angry, embarrassed, cringe, laugh, scared, proud, happy, jealous or worried?

Now choose a story people can relate to with universal experiences such as childhood pets, school, teachers or your first kiss.

For good storytelling every story must have a beginning, a middle and an end with a starting point, impact and end result.

Now think about how to convey that to your reader through the story without explicitly telling them how you felt.

7 Top Personal Writing Themes

Choose one of these to get you started:

  1. a perfect place;
  2. an embarrassing moment;
  3. a proud moment;
  4. exhilaration;
  5. funny times;
  6. someone who influenced you;
  7. an obstacle overcome.

What makes a story feel real and brings it to life?

It’s the details so if you can’t remember them make them up. Exaggeration is part of the storytelling, don’t underplay your story. Feel free to embellish it.

Personal Writing Challenge

Next week I’m going to publish a short example of my own personal writing. Will you join me?

Just write and post your story on your blog with a link to this post then I’ll add it on my post as another example.

No need to write anything long, just have fun with it and see what you come up with.

Theme: a perfect place

What are your favorite themes for personal writing?

Author: Annabel Candy

Please Share This:

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Miller July 5, 2011 at 8:24 am

Thanks for this Annabel – just what I am looking for to motivate me to write… can’t promise it will happen but the intention is there! ;)


Annabel Candy July 5, 2011 at 10:00 am

Hi Lisa, great to see you here and I hope it does happen:) I tried to keep this post short to give you and me more time for writing the story! I’d love to read yours:)


Lisa Miller July 6, 2011 at 8:10 am

I haven’t got a blog but have posted it in my “notes” on Facebook – would love to hear your feedback (+ve or “constructive”) ;)

Annabel Candy July 6, 2011 at 10:35 am

What is the facebook address?!

Lisa Miller July 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Sorry to be a dunce but I don’t know the facebook page… I just wrote it in my notes and posted it on my profile. Are you able to access it from there or should I e-mail it to you? I’m new to “putting the writing out there” and can empathize with many of the comments on your blog re pressing post. Really enjoying reading your writing and look forward to taking up more of your writing challenges ;)

Annabel Candy July 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

Hi Lisa, why don’t you friend me on Facebook: so I can check it out?!

Barbara July 6, 2011 at 3:59 am

I’m in! Thanks!


Annabel Candy July 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hi Barbara, brilliant, I can’t wait to read it:)


Annabel Candy July 6, 2011 at 10:36 am

Yay! Thanks Barbara:)


Seana Smith July 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Great tips Annabel, it’s a good idea to start with the emotions. We are mid school hols here and am about to go away with the kids so better not commit to writing… next time!


Annabel Candy July 10, 2011 at 9:54 am

Oh Seana! Come on;)


Dave Doolin July 7, 2011 at 12:06 am

Annabel, I haven’t seen this broken down into archetypes before, very good job.


Annabel Candy July 10, 2011 at 9:54 am

Hi Dave, thanks:)


Shruti July 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Thanks Annabel! This challenge just helped me change my way of looking at my weekend getaway post.I am not sure I did justice but I tried.
I am waiting to see what you write and learn from it!
Here is the link to my post :


Annabel Candy July 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

Hi Shruti, well done! I’ll check it out next week, don’t want to read it before I finish mine but very exited you’re joining in:)


Shruti July 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I am eagerly waiting to read your story! I am sure it is going to be one exciting read :)

Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living July 9, 2011 at 2:03 am

I love the “perfect place” suggestion. You know it evokes something that I discovered after moving to Belize, and it might not be what you expect. Can’t wait to read your story. When are you posting? Let me think about it please.


Annabel Candy July 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

Hi Sonia, I’ll post on Tuesday next week. Love to read yours any time!


Galen Pearl July 12, 2011 at 3:23 am

Great idea! I like the top themes. I like to take those themes and tie them to something I have learned about myself. A perfect place? I wonder if what I posted this morning about taking a guided tour of our lives might qualify for this. Always something fun and challenging when I visit here!


Annabel Candy July 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Hi Galen, I’ll check out your post. I know everyone loves lessons learned but I always feel as if I haven’t learned much – just collected some great stories and memories:)


Lori July 12, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Hmm, what an interesting idea, Annabel. I’ll write something this week too ;)


Lori July 15, 2011 at 12:06 am

PS: an example of personal writing is this one (posted today). Will come back with a post on your theme :)


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