To start with, theme is a lesson or idea the story teaches and is carried throughout the story. But where do we find a theme to center our stories around? We can Google a list of possible themes and go from there. After all, sometimes our mind goes blank right at that moment you want to think of something. Google helps boost our minds. Of course, there are other search engines, so the choice is yours which one you use.
Another possibility is yourself. You’re probably going, huh? That’s right. Your own experiences can shed light on various themes you can center your story around. In your lifetime what have you learned? How did you learn it? Did you have to learn how to get along with someone you didn’t like? Did you have to learn how to give more? Did you have to learn to be patient? Maybe you had to learn to take risks. The list goes on and on. Or maybe you know of someone who had a learning experience.
Does this all mean your story has to be directly related to your learning experience? No, absolutely not. You aren’t creating nonfiction. You are wanting to create fiction. All I am saying is to use your learning experience (or someone else’s) and come up with a fictional story that centers around the theme (or what you learned) from your own life.
There are times, though, when all you have to do is start writing a story and the theme will present itself as the story unfolds. Yes, there are some writers who write this way. I am one of them. I don’t like to restrict myself, and I find it more freeing to just start writing. How about you?