How to come up with ideas for creative writing

Writing topics to get Kids Writing— Encourage kids to stretch their imagination and go deeper into their creativity with these good writing ideas. Children who write consistently tend to have a strong sense of self-confidence in their ability to creatively express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

Even in our high-tech world, writing remains an essential and fundamental skill for students to master. When teaching kids how to write, interesting and good writing ideas help to engage a child’s interest in their writing practice. Below are various good writing ideas for kids which are sorted by topic. The topics include writing about yourself, prompts about animals, prompts about friends and writing ideas about using one’s imagination.

Moreover, a regular writing practice — such as daily journaling — gives children the chance to explore the world around them, to expand their imaginations, and to develop a deeper level of self-awareness.

Explore, savor, and enjoy this list of good writing prompts for young writers!

Writing Topics: 44 Good Ideas for Students

Writing Ideas about “Yourself”

1. Write about an unforgettable experience in your life.

2. Write about your best school day EVER! Explain in detail what happened on that day.

3. Write about teaching someone something you are good at doing.

4. Write a story about your favorite pair of shoes.

5. Write about an embarrassing event that happened to you.

6. Write about a trip or a vacation you have taken or you want to take.

7. Write about your favorite summer vacation memory.

8. Write about Sundays and how you spend them?

9. Write about a thing that you are scared of and why it frightens you.

Writing Ideas about “Animals”

10. Write about your very favorite animal in the whole wide world!

11. Your pet suddenly turns into a cartoon character. Write about the adventures you two go on together.

12. “If I was an animal, I would be _____ and I would_____.”

13. What would you do if you had a dinosaur as a pet?

14. imagine a new animal that no one has ever seen before. Explain how it looks, what it eats and what does in the world.

15. What are the responsibilities of having a pet?

16. You are a bird that can fly. Write a story about what you see.

17. Which animal frightens you the most? Write about the animal and why it scares you.

18. Write a story about your dream pet.

19. Write a story about two animal friends, such as a giraffe and a whale or a duck and a pig.

20. While walking through a forest, you stumbled upon a huge egg. What do you do and what happens next?

Writing Prompts about “Friends”

21. Write all about your best friend.

22. Write a letter to your oldest friend. Tell her what you miss about her and share some memories and stories.

23. What qualities do you look for in your friends and why?

24. Did you ever fight with your friend? How did you solve it?

25. Write about going on a trip with your friend.

26. Write about the nicest thing you have done for your friends.

27. What does friendship means to you?

28. Write a poem about the qualities or habits of your friend(s).

29. Have you ever lost a friend? How did you feel?

30. Write a story about you and your friend encountering a dragon.

31. How would you celebrate friendship day with your friend?

Writing Ideas about “Imagination”

32. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

33. What would you do if you were the President of your country?

34. You found a pot of gold in your backyard…

35. What would you do for the day if you could do anything in the whole wide world?

36. Describe what you would do if you got the chance to live on the moon for a whole year!

37. You wake up and find a purple giant living in your home…

38. “I walked into the closet and came out in another world called _____”. Continue this story.

39. My life as a pirate or a detective is so interesting because…

40. I went inside the Egyptian pyramid and discovered…

41. You are about to begin your very own business, what is it?

42. How would you make this world a better place?

43. You find out that you are a prince/princess to the throne…

44. Your bicycle runs away from your home. How are you going to find it?

We hope you put these good writing ideas for kids to use in your classroom!

Links & Resources

  • Story writing topics for students
  • 30 Topics for Writing
  • On Teaching: How to Make Good Writers

Until next time, write on…

If you enjoyed these Good Writing Ideas for Students,
please share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.
I appreciate it!

This article was co-authored by Grant Faulkner, MA. Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story, a literary magazine. Grant has published two books on writing and has been published in The New York Times and Writer’s Digest. He co-hosts Write-minded, a weekly podcast on writing and publishing, and has a M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Writers of fiction, poetry, TV and movie scripts, song lyrics, and even advertisements rely on their ability to come up with ideas and put them into words. Consistently coming up with ideas for creative writing can be challenging, but there are ways to stimulate your creativity and avoid writer’s block. Try some of the following methods to get your creative juices flowing!

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

Grant Faulkner, MA
Professional Writer Expert Interview. 8 January 2019. Not only can you keep abreast of trends in your writing specialty and see examples of other writers’ styles, but you can also find story ideas from what you read, whether in newspapers, magazines, books, or online.

  • Other works of fiction can serve as inspiration for your stories, as well. Scholars have cited the influence of the Scandinavian legend of Amleth and the Roman tale of Brutus on Hamlet. [7] X Research source
  • You can also base a creative writing idea on a quote. The classic “Star Trek” episode “The Conscience of the King,” featuring the exposure of a former dictator, who had tried to atone for his past by leading an acting troupe, takes its title from a line in “Hamlet”: “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” [8] X Research source

We all have a million excellent ideas for stories, but, without fail, they magically disappear the minute we sit down to write. It seems impossible, but it happens constantly. Hours are wasted staring at a blank page. And, no matter how many cups of coffee are in our systems, we still can’t find the energy to kick our muses into gear and develop story ideas.

Have no fear: I have five ways that will help pump up your creativity muscle and build story ideas that will keep you writing for hours on end. Here they are.

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

1. Reinvent a scene from a book.

Take a very small, seemingly non-important scene from one of your favorite books and consider what it’d be like if that were the opening scene to your novel. Change the characters of course, and add one or more unique elements to that scene. The key is to give you a starting point and then let your imagination run wild. While there are many ways to stay inspired, this challenge really takes something that you love (an old book) and gives it new life.

2. Use junk mail as inspiration.

Take the next two pieces of spam mail you receive (either snail mail or e-mail) and use it to determine the profession on your protagonist and your protagonist’s love interest. I get this type of mail all of the time, particularly from politicians, credit card companies and auto dealerships—and that’s just what’s delivered by the United States Postal Service! When I add in the junk sent to my e-mail inbox, I get “foreign ambassadors from Nigeria” looking for million dollar loans and women begging me to click through to get “erotic” pictures of them. Any one of these jobs will lead to many fun and unusual situations—and will give you plenty of fodder to write about.

3. Invent a history for someone with whom you’ve lost touch.

We have all had friends in our lives from grade school, high school or college that we knew quite well back then, but haven’t seen much (if at all) since. In fact, most of their lives are a mystery to us. Pick one of those old friends and write about the life they’ve been leading ever since you lost touch. What happened in his or her family life? What career path did he or she choose? Was he or she involved in something that led them to a life of crime? The possibilities are endless, which should drive you to be as creative as possible.

4. Eavesdrop on a conversation.

Just because you’re stuck in a bit of a funk when it comes to ideas doesn’t mean that other people are. Take your notepad or laptop out of the house, sit down somewhere and observe the scenery around you—and listen to any and every conversation within earshot. You can do this at a park, restaurant, coffee shop or, my personal favorite, a bar (people who have a few drinks in them tend to share the best stories). Remember, jot down all the stories you hear but be sure to give them a twist to make them your own.

5. Find a writing prompt and run with it.

Sometimes the best cure for writer’s block is to let someone else start your story for you. You can search the web and find a number of sites that offer them, or check out our database of creative writing prompts that gets updated every Tuesday. And who knows: The idea you get from a writing prompt may be just the inspiration you need to spark your creativity and write a short story or novel that sells.

Here you’ll find easy step-by-step advice on how to write a play, from creating characters to finding the right starting point. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to related pages on how to write plays and screenplays.

How to write a play – So, you want to write plays?

Even if you don’t end up on Broadway, there are many other opportunities to experience the thrill of seeing your work produced on the stage, whether in community theaters, schools, or other amateur productions. And who knows where you’ll go from there?

How to write a play – Read and watch plays.

The first step in writing anything at all is to get to know the form. If you want to be a poet, you have to read poetry. If you want to write thrillers, you should read thrillers. If you want to write fortune cookie fortunes, go out for some Chinese dinners. In the case of playwriting, you should not only read plays, but also see them in performance. This is important in order to write plays that will work on the stage.

Brander Matthews, in an article reprinted on, recommends seeing the same play many times. The idea is that the first time, you will experience it as an audience member, getting caught up in the story. But after several repetitions, you can focus on it more objectively, noticing aspects of the playwright’s technique, as well as observing reactions of the audience.

The more you can learn about the way theater actually works, the better. If you write an eight-hour long play with seventeen set changes and live tigers on the stage, no one will come to your house and arrest you for breaking playwriting rules. On the other hand, there’s also a good chance that no one will produce your script.

If you’re interested in writing plays, it’s probably because you want them to be performed. In that case, you should be aware of practical aspects of the cost and ease of production. To understand these factors better, it’s a good idea to volunteer at a local theater if you can or find some other way to get backstage and watch how things actually work. This is also a way to make interesting contacts in the local theater community who can give you feedback on your play and can eventually help you get it produced.

How to write a play – Come up with a main character.

One way to get ideas for your play is to start with a character. Who is your play about? Your character might be based on a combination of real people you know. Another good strategy is people-watching. Invent lives for people you see in the grocery store in the mall. What do you think their names might be? What kinds of homes and jobs do you imagine for them? What do you think is the most urgent problem that each person has to deal with? Writing character profiles can help you imagine your characters more fully.

How to write a play – Decide on a conflict

Your play should have a conflict. Give your character a major problem that he or she has to solve immediately.

Why? Why stir up trouble? why can’t we leave your poor character in peace?

If everything’s perfect in your character’s life, then nothing has to happen. Happiness is very nice to experience, but it’s boring to watch. There’s a reason why “Happily ever after” comes at the story’s end. Cinderella and her Prince Charming wake up late, eat a nice breakfast, and take a little walk. Good for them. But no one would buy tickets to see the play.

It would be different if it were:

  • “Happily ever after, except for one extramarital affair and its violent ending. ”
  • “Happily ever after until Cinderella discovered Prince Charming’s secret dungeon. “

Think about the character you have invented. What’s something this character desperately wants? What difficulties might get in the way? There’s a conflict for you.

How to write a play – Decide on a beginning point.

Let’s say our play is about Prince Charming’s extramarital affair. What’s the best place to start it?

  1. Prince Charming’s birth
  2. The first time Charming lays eyes on his future lover, a chambermaid named Petunia
  3. Charming and Petunia’s first kiss
  4. When Cinderella walks in on Petunia and Charming in bed
  5. When Cinderella stabs Charming and Petunia to death and throws their bodies into the moat

If we were writing a script for a movie instead of a play, we might choose the fifth option. The film opens with a crocodile peeling Charming’s crown off his head, much as you might remove a scrap of foil wrapper from a bonbon, before taking a luscious bite. Then the movie flashes back to show a shocked audience the story of how Charming ended up in this state, Prince Charming’s tragic transformation from eye candy to crocodile candy.

It’s harder to flash back like that in a play. Movies and novels can jump around almost effortlessly in time and place, but such transitions become more complicated in the theater, where live actors are performing on a stage. Plays therefore often take on a shorter period of time. If we were writing a thousand-page novel with all the time in the world, we might begin with Charming’s birth, his childhood, his first love, Mimi. But this is a play, not a novel, and we have a limited time to hold the audience’s attention.

What’s the most exciting point in our story? Probably when Cinderella stabs Charming and Petunia to death. This is the story climax, the moment when the story’s conflict reaches a peak. You can think of the climax as a decisive battle which determines how the story will end. After the climax comes the resolution, when the dust settles and the audience gets a glimpse of the result — the crocodile munching on its treat, Cinderella moving her summer clothes into Charming’s half of the closet.

If we start our play at the climax, the audience will be lost. They’ll see a crazed princess storming into a bedroom, but they won’t know who she is or why they should care. There will be no built-up tension, no suspense, just a bloodbath in the royal bed. And the play will be over almost as soon as it has begun. Instead, what many playwrights do is to start the play a little bit before the climax. The play begins with a situation that has a lot of tension already built up. Charming and Petunia have been messing around for months and now are plotting to poison Cinderella’s soup. Cinderella has noticed that Charming’s been less charming than usual and wants the Fairy Godmother to spy on him. The play begins. Tensions are already high. Tempers are short. The situation is explosive. And the audience gets to watch it all blow up.

Click here to keep reading about how to write a play.

How to write a play – Next steps.

Choose one of the links below:

Click here to go to How to Write a Play – Part 2.

Click here for a complete list of CWN pages on how to write a play or screenplay.

This page talks about what a story climax is and how to build excitement in your stories or novels. At the bottom, you’ll find a links to related pages about how to write fiction, plus the chance to take a free creative writing course.

How to have your readers on the edge of their seats

What’s a story climax?

One way to look at a story is as a clash between two opposing forces.

For example:

  • The character’s temptation to steal her sister’s inheritance vs. her conscience, which tells her it’s wrong
  • Home team vs. away team
  • Bachelor Number 1 vs. Bachelor Number 2

Suspense comes with the reader’s uncertainty about which side is going to win.

The story’s climax is the definitive confrontation which determines the winner. It’s when the detective and the killer finally face off in the dark basement, and the reader knows only one is going to come out alive. It’s when Bachelor Number 2 bursts into the church to stop Bachelor Number 1 from marrying the bride. The climax is the moment the reader has been waiting for. After the climax, things settle down in one direction or another, and you have the story’s resolution.

Tips for a powerful story climax

The climax of your story is more likely to be powerful if:

  • You’ve developed a convincing character or characters that your reader can care about. If the characters feel like strangers or, worse, just inventions on the page, the reader’s not going to worry too much about what happens to them.
  • You’ve clearly established what’s at stake. The climax is the moment that decides whether the things will go one way or the other. For the climax to work, the reader has to understand why it matters if the bride chooses Bachelor 1 or Bachelor 2. The reader has to believe the outcome is important.

This brings up a key point. Important themes do not equal an important story. You can write a story about saving a hamster from a cat that will matter more to readers than someone else’s story about saving the world from nuclear war.

What makes the outcome of a climax matter to your reader?

  1. It matters deeply to the characters.
  2. The reader cares about the characters enough to care about what matters to them.

Other tips for the climax of your story

  • Build up to it. The reader’s anticipation increases suspense.
  • Show it, don’t tell it! The climax is not the time to give a quick summary of events. If you’re not sure about the difference between showing and telling, read more about it here.

Your story climax – next steps

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How to come up with ideas for creative writing

Where do authors get their best writing ideas?

Do writing ideas just fall out of the sky? Is it reasonable to sit around waiting for a great idea to land on your lap, so you can write the next big bestseller?

I don’t think so.

When it comes to developing worthwhile writing ideas, it’s either feast or famine for most of us. Some writers have so many ideas, we can’t decide which one to pursue. Other writers struggle to find something worth writing about; they don’t have enough ideas.

And even if you have a compelling idea, the idea itself might not sustain a story or a poem. It’s not enough to have a concept: you need characters, settings, plots, subplots, and themes.

When writers are at a loss for ideas, they often self-diagnose with writer’s block. But many are merely dismissing their own good ideas (often because they aren’t perceived as original enough), or they don’t want to put a lot of effort into looking for ideas.

However, there’s no shortage of sources we can turn to for inspiration. Why not start at the top? Why not find out where some of the most successful authors have gotten their brilliant writing ideas? If that doesn’t inspire us, I don’t know what will.

No Imagination Necessary

First, let us dispel the myth that if you want to be a writer, you must have a vivid imagination. Plenty of writers have found success by being simple observers.

Mark Twain is a shining example. His idea for Huckleberry Finn (aff link) was based on someone he knew from real life. It turns out that the beloved character was practically a replica of Twain’s childhood friend, Tom Blankenship:

“In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent person—boy or man—in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us.” — Mark Twain

Have you ever known someone with a standout personality? Such a person can influence your work in the same way that Tom Blankenship influenced Mark Twain.

Political and Social Commentary

Of course, Mark Twain is not the only author to successfully draw from real life. During the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of people migrated to the western United States from the Dust Bowl to escape intense dust storms that were destroying agriculture and the local economy. John Steinbeck (one of my literary heroes) told their story in The Grapes of Wrath (aff link):

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects].” — John Steinbeck

Steinbeck’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel is a thoughtful commentary on social injustice and the forces behind poverty and oppression.

Thanks to the internet, political and social issues are well documented and easily accessible. If you can find an issue that matters to you, just look to the news and documentaries for true stories that you can use for inspiration.

Dreaming Things Up

Creative people from all walks of life from artists to inventors have found answers and ideas within the magical world of dreams. One of the most successful living authors of our time, Stephen King, attributes a dream as the inspiration for Misery (aff link), a novel that was also made into a film and an off-Broadway play:

“Like the ideas for some of my other novels, that came to me in a dream…I fell asleep on the plane, and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. His skin, the writer’s skin. I said to myself, ‘I have to write this story.’ Of course, the plot changed quite a bit in the telling. But I wrote the first forty or fifty pages right on the landing here, between the ground floor and the first floor of the hotel.” — Stephen King

Unfortunately, many of us don’t remember our dreams, and if we do, they’re hazy at best. Luckily, there are some proven techniques to help us learn how to remember our dreams. Try a few of them and see if you can’t get your next big writing idea while you’re sound asleep. You can also keep a dream journal and then harvest it for inspiration whenever you need it.

Making Connections

Suzanne Collins broke the mold with The Hunger Games (aff link), one of the most successful series of the aughts, and the adapted films turned the series into a cultural phenomenon. This dystopian, young adult story takes place in a future where teenagers fight to the death in an oversized arena. Collins came up with the idea by connecting two seemingly disparate ideas:

“One night, I was lying in bed and I was very tired, and I was just sort of channel surfing on television. And, I was going through, flipping through images of reality television where there were these young people competing for a million dollars or a bachelor or whatever. And then I was flipping and I was seeing footage from the Iraq War. And these two things began to sort of fuse together in a very unsettling way, and that is when I, really, I think was the moment where I really got the idea for Katniss’s story.” — Suzanne Collins

The world is full of strange, wondrous, and horrific people and events. You too can draw unexpected connections between them to form the basis of a captivating story idea.

No Excuses! Writing Ideas Are Everywhere

So much for writer’s block — and so much for imagination. We writers need only be influenced and inspired by the world (and the people) around us.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” — Neil Gaiman

You know what that means: no more excuses! You’re a writer, so go out there, find your writing ideas, and then write. Write your hearts out.

Creative block is the number one enemy of writers. It’s especially frustrating for younger students as it plants a seed of self-pity, sometimes self-loathing, at not knowing what to write about. As early as now, your students should know that writing is a process and that it doesn’t just happen. Part of the writing process is idea generation. While you can always feed students writing prompts to address the ‘I have nothing to write’ frustration, if you really want to train them to be good writers, you have to help them come up with ideas on their own, young as they are. At that, here are the pre-writing strategies you can teach pupils:


This is the most popular writing warm-up routine. The goal of brainstorming is to link one idea after another. There are two ways to do this: individually or by group. In the case of the former, encourage your students to scribble freely on a piece of paper—make sure to attach that rough draft with their final write-up later. Brainstorming drafts help children see their flow of thought and appreciate better the writing process as they’re able to compare the initial, rough plan and the output. At the same time, the drafts are troves of many more ideas for the next writing sessions. If you’re doing the brainstorming as a group, though, make sure that every kid in the team contributes. Introverts may find it uneasy to participate in such settings, so you will have to have some sort of icebreakers to make children more comfortable.


How to come up with ideas for creative writing

Idea generation doesn’t have to involve words always. Your young visual learners can come up with writing ideas with pictures or doodles. Hence, let them draw whatever pops into their head. To align with the writing session you’ll have later, tell the children the topic that they will have to write about. From there, they can materialize their ideas through drawings. For instance, your writing lesson is fairy tales. Let them do sketches of what they think about princesses and unicorns. This exercise will help stretch their creativity and hopefully make it easier for them to think of imaginative plots later. Moreover, you can let them use their illustrations when they write their stories. This will do wonders for their self-confidence. You can use writing tools from excellent websites, such as Studentreasures Publishing, which can also help you introduce publishing books for kids to your students.


People are natural storytellers. Children love to share narratives, whether that be how they got into the wrong school bus or where they spent their weekend. It’s a skill to organize thoughts and bring a logical sequence to stories, which is a very crucial strength writers need to develop. Therefore, it would be a very good writer training for students to talk. Divide them into groups and pose a thought-provoking question that will make them tell a story. Some fun examples are:

  • What would you do if you find a treasure chest in the middle of a forest?
  • How would you use the three genie-given wishes?
  • When was the last time you felt happy?

Young as they are, students will have to learn how to come up with their own ideas for writing. Teach them the strategies mentioned above and hopefully, you will never have to hear a single “I don’t know what to write, Teacher!”

Generate a cool username for Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and others

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

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What to Know

  • Incorporate your favorite things, such as a food, celebrity, or career aspiration.
  • Use an online screen name generator such as SpinXO.
  • Build an unlikely username by substituting symbols and letters, like 3 for E and $ for 5.

This article explains how to create a username for your online identity that is unique and secure. Suggestions include incorporating your favorite things, using an online username generator, and substituting symbols and letters that are similar if your desired username is already taken.

Add Favorite Things to Your Username

Do you like the color purple, dinosaurs, candy, and the number 7? Something like SweetPurpleDinosaur7 will go a long way.

Jot down a few of your favorite things and consider your job or career aspirations, favorite foods, celebrities, sports teams, movies. Just be creative!

Consider What’s Around You

Have you exhausted your lists of favorite things? Consider school mascots, your town, or other things relative to where you live and what you care about. However, be very careful not to give away too much information. Internet predators could potentially identify your location by your screen name.

Something like SweetTexarkanaHighDinosaurGirl91 might seem innocent at first until you realize that it can probably be deciphered as a Texarkana, TX, high school girl who graduated or was born in 1991.

On that note, maybe you should choose something specific that doesn’t actually apply to you, for even more anonymity.

Use a Screen Name Generator

How to come up with ideas for creative writing

One of the easiest ways to create a screen name with the least amount of effort is to let your computer do it for you. There are several screen name generators available that are easy and fun to use.

Here are our top picks:

  • SpinXO: Generates names using information like your hobbies, important words, name, numbers, and things you like. You can get 30 usernames immediately, and refresh for more. Click a username at SpinXO to see if they’re available on different platforms like Reddit, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram.
  • Screen Name Generator: Enter two words at The Screen Name Generator to have it generate a unique screen name that’s a combination of your words plus something random in between them. This is a good tool to use if you have specific words that you’d like to include in your username.
  • Rum and Monkey: Rum and Monkey’s online name generator is broken down into categories to help you find the best login ID. Get an ancient Greek name or something in military code. You can even go for a Minion or Korean name. Select a category and your gender, and then enter your name to get a fun and unique username.
  • Fake Name Generator: This website not only gives you a username but even a whole identity, including a first and last name, address, birthday, physical attributes, employment information, and more. A bit much? Maybe so, but the usernames are pretty random and the other details are fun to read.

What to Do When Your Screen Name Is Unavailable

Have you hit the ‘this username is taken‘ roadblock and need creative inspiration? A used screen name doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant to be. Just like when creating strong passwords that are hard to guess, you can also use non-English word combinations to build unlikely usernames.

Consider substituting symbols and letters that are similar: @=a, 3=e, $=5, S=5. Most messaging apps and social networks will let you use symbols in a username and, with many to choose from, the possibilities are nearly endless.

For example, if SweetPurpleDinosaur7 is already being used, consider making it $weetPurpleD1nOsaur7.