We spoke to aspiring poet and author Natasha Briddle about her poetry, being a younger writer for her, and what inspires her.
About Natasha and what drives her to tell stories
Jordan: Hi Natasha, Thank you for sharing the news about publishing your poems.
I’ve been a member of Now Novel since February 2021. In this relatively short time, I’ve had the pleasure of providing a critique of two completely different new projects. One is about a teenage girl who struggles with her mental health and personal relationships. The other is about an aspiring athlete in the sponsorship system.
There is a sense of empathy that is evident in both stories and in your writing in general. You refer to yourself on your Wattpad profile as “a vigilant dreamer, poet, novelist, pet lover, reader, student, LGBTQ+ ally, and planet activist.”
Can you tell us more about yourself, what inspires you as a published poet and aspiring novelist?
Natasha: I fell in love with storytelling at a young age. I’ve been reading since I learned the alphabet, and I’ve been writing since my hand could hold a pencil.
Storytelling has always been considered a form of magic. I am in awe of the way writers can talk about universal truths through fiction or poetry. I have carried this infatuation with me even today, as I continue to discover my voice in art.
About writing inspiration
I get inspired by everything around me. Good and bad experiences have found their way into my work. That’s why I think there’s absolutely no experience lost, even if it’s hard to see in the middle of it.
And I found that thinking about my life through words, whether small fragments intertwined in imagination, or memories adapted into images for poetry, helped me discover and learn more about myself than I had ever known.
I know where my values lie, what hopes and dreams I want to pursue, and what things frighten me the most.
The key was to make myself vulnerable—if only for an hour on my computer at a time—and in return, writing gave me these gifts.
On what makes a good story and work on writing the craft
Jordan: This is a great point, being open to vulnerability (to take your writing to places that may seem “too real”) often results in surprising gifts.
You are listing an interesting mix of novels among your favorites on the site. They include familiar YA publishing hits like hunger Games. Also fiction books like The girl who drank the moon by Kelly Barnhill and Peace is like a river by Liv Unger.
What do you look for in a story, or what do your favorite stories achieve?
Natasha: As I am more dedicated to writing, I become more critical of everything I read. I don’t suspect more than any of my colleagues or family members. But at the same time, I am more tolerant.
I’m still relatively new to writing fiction, but I’ve trained in it long enough to understand the challenges all authors go through in producing their artwork.
Like any reader, I’m drawn to a story with a good hook, but it’s the characters that make me read late at night and stay with me long after the last page is turned.
In terms of writing, I’ve studied articles and videos on how to create complex and memorable characters by giving them flaws, fears, desires, and false beliefs.
As a reader, I generally like spending time with characters who can make me laugh or cry or make me look at the world a little differently.
I especially like books that reflect the diverse world we live in, from including people from different backgrounds and identities to representing mental or chronic illnesses.
In writing and publishing poetry and the poetic process
Jordan: I agree, acting is important. I know my perspective has been enriched by reading “other” voices of my own experiences.
We wanted to share about the publication of your poems in the July and August issue of glowing reviewBeautiful, digital magazine for young authors. Congratulations on choosing your business! It takes courage to publicly present and share one’s work.
If we could talk a little bit about the poems presented, I’d love the stunning opening image of “Transience”:
You crush the ant and the hurricane
He grabs me from the ground, pulls me inside
It’s a whirlwind of memories, so refreshing and so amazing
Natasha Berdell, IN glowing reviewJuly – August (2021)
Once again, there is an empathetic voice to these poems that draws the reader in. An essential sense of caring for “all creatures, great and small”.
What are some of your poetic inspirations? So far, I’ve only had the chance to read your prose novels.
Natasha: I’ve never heard of a specific way of writing poetry, so I’ll try to describe my work here. It often starts with a vague idea, usually stemming from something as simple as a word or picture that brings up some memories and sparks my creative inclinations.
I will only say that despite my age, I have a lot of memories to choose from. From there I take it to my computer. The blank page easily scares me, so I try to put my thoughts together in a few lines and keep building until I make a poem.
It sounds relatively simple, but most of the work is done in my head. Writing a poem is like trying to solve a puzzle, you just don’t know yet what the big picture is. Honestly, most of my poems surprise me upon completion. And if I’m lucky, they’ll make me happy.
On writing about mental health and empathic imagination
Jordan: Delight and surprise are great parts of the creative process, for sure.
I love this puzzle analogy. I attended monthly poetry writing workshops over the course of two years as a college student lit up in English. What I said about puzzles resonated with me because the group’s specific writing directions have always created an amazingly different puzzle for each person. Sometimes the same prompt can elicit a hilarious response And One breaks the heart. The pieces supplied were similar but the ‘big picture’ in the end result was at times stunning given the differences in mood and image evoked by a prompt.
Your second published poem, “Souvenirs,” paints a beautiful picture of the mother-daughter bond. It shows how a parent can “bring you together” with one line. Also the discomfort of being in the hospital. I loved the visceral line, the charcoal. Sharp poison paste, a spot on your tongue.
Your work is full of characters who struggle with the struggle and you have mentioned that you are a “mental health advocate” on your Wattpad.
What drives you to advocate for self-care (and concern for others) in your writing? He seems amazingly mature for a young author like you.
Natasha: I have an ongoing history with mental health, so I try to be as empathetic and supportive as possible when it comes to taking care of others and myself. I was recently appointed to be an ambassador for Robbie’s Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention.
Although I have yet to learn where this path will take me, I have a feeling that it will have a lasting impact on me in the years to come. It is my own experience, as well as the experiences I have indirectly shared with others, that continually push me to be a champion of mental health for people everywhere.
Upon reaching the writing stages and being a member of Now Novel
Jordan: I really recommend it; Take what you have experienced or seen and use it to support others. There is a transformative power in this.
You also shared on Now Novel recently that you have 25,000 words with your current novel in progress and are actively working in providing constructive feedback to others. What have you enjoyed most about being a member of Now Novel so far?
Natasha: I can’t even express how happy I am that I found Now Novel when I was in the early stages of writing my novel, Interpretation of dreams.
Amidst the spread of Covid, lockdowns prevented me from joining any local school or writing clubs, so of course my clever idea to occupy myself was to write a novel. Who knows?
But I am so glad I took the plunge, because I discovered a new passion for writing that kept me on my feet amid more than a year of uncertainty. But enough about me. Now Novel is a supportive, uplifting online community for creators who understand the experiences and triumphs of writing.
The Novel Story Outline resource has now helped me be productive and disciplined in my brainstorming, as well as gain ground in writing my novel scenes. Most of all, I love chatting with writers in group chats, sharing and critiquing ideas, and just getting to know the other humans out there!
Meet the like-minded writers
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On Shakespeare and time travel
Jordan: I’m glad we could be a part of your journey, and help you in the ways you describe. Thank you very much for sharing your writing and thoughts with us.
Finally, just for fun, could you complete the blank from our September writing competition for our group training course: “I was…when I saw…that’s when I knew…”.
Natasha: I was practicing Shakespeare when I saw the flying car swaying. That’s when I learned that the time machine is broken.
Natasha Briddle is a young aspiring writer and poet. Her work has appeared in Dove tales written for peace Poetry Anthology Literary Journal for Compulsive Youth, And glowing review, among other things.
I volunteered as a creative arts writer for the online news magazine INKspire. When she’s not dreaming up new ideas to jot down passionately, she loves to take long walks, do yoga, and enjoy different types of tea. Follow Natasha on Instagram @natasha_bredle for her latest written news.