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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

In a career dominated by men, it’s difficult for women to stand out and truly be acknowledged for the work they put out. Being a writer was seen as a ‘man’s job’ and something that women couldn’t be successful in for years. Many women, like Little Women author Louisa May Alcott, would write under male pseudonyms to conceal their gender and be praised for their writing, instead of judged based on their gender. Even now, as several women have made successful careers in the writing industry, it can still be daunting to be a woman wanting to pursue a career in the writing and literature field. Despite this overwhelming fear that I don’t fit into my field, a few female authors in particular have continued to inspire me in a special way to know that you can be successful in a field dominated by men.


Maya Angelou once said “Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” And she did just as she stated. Maya Angelou found something she wanted to change and did so through the words she wrote, using her poems and books to advocate for civil rights and women’s rights. Seeing how successful she was able to become, as someone who strives to do the exact same thing, Maya Angelou truly inspires me to dive head first into my writing and just put myself out there. 


Emily Dickinson was a pioneer for female poets and women writers in general. The fame her name carries today did not come about until after her death, so without ever even reaping the financial benefits of her writings, she wrote out of pure passion and desire. This fierce passion and willingness to create new styles of writing is what inspires me about Emily Dickinson. She is an embodiment of the idea of being drawn to a form of expression and simply doing what fulfills you and makes you happy, like writing, instead of doing whatever can make you the richest or most famous person.


The accomplishments of Angie Thomas are what really inspire me about her. She writes about the struggles of the African American community, creating beautiful stories, like The Hate U Give and On The Come Up, that black people can relate to while simultaneously advocating for social issues like police brutality. Being able to do this and gain so much recognition speaks volumes and inspires someone like me who wants to write about similar topics. Angie Thomas helped me know that my voice mattered and could be used to make a difference just like anyone else’s.


As an African American woman writer, Phillis Wheatley inspires me in a different way as she was one of the first slaves to ever get their writings published, and on top of that she was also a woman. The importance of that monumental accomplishment has not gone unnoticed by anyone and has especially inspired me to realize that even when I may feel that there are so many things holding me back, I simply can. I can write. I can publish my work. I can do so many things as long as I have a desire and longing to do so, and so can you! 

I'm Lelani Williamson, a first-year at North Carolina State University majoring in English – Professional Writing with a minor in Political Science. I am from Cary, North Carolina and aspire to advocate through policy writing. I enjoy reading, writing, watching movies, and spending time with my friends. I love reading all genres but recently I've been really enjoying early 1900 tragedies. Similarly, I have been watching a lot of time period movies and television shows.