Brenda Smit-James ~ Author, Memoirist, Instructor

About BRENDA


I never expected to be a writer!

Brenda Smit-James profile shot

My Writer's Journey

Five years ago, I would have been no more surprised to have an author's website than if I was invited to be Governor General of Canada. Well, not quite, but close. 

I never saw myself as a writer, let alone as an author. 

It was a depression in my late thirties that set me on the path of unearthing and giving expression to the writer within me. When I emerged from that season of self-evaluation and regret, I realized that I needed a life-giving focus for the second-half of my life. 

But what was it going to be? 

I knew that it should be something creative. I considered art classes and playing the piano. I even wondered about calligraphy. And yet...I had this niggling thought...what if there was something within me, some skill I already had, that I had been ignoring?

Writing came to mind.

At school, there had been no evidence of any skill in writing – except just once. At the age of 12, I wrote a piece about doing Saturday grocery shopping with my mother. I wrote about there being too many carts and not enough space. I wrote about inconsiderate shoppers who blocked the aisle as they browsed the shelves. I wrote of women who leaned against their carts and chatted together, oblivious of our plight as we tried to squeeze by.

My story came back from my teacher with a glowing comment; I was surprised - and pleased.

When we immigrated to Canada from South Africa over twenty years' ago, I wrote annual Christmas newsletters for family and friends. Each year I received compliments about how much my letter was anticipated and enjoyed. I didn’t see anything special in it, but others did. And at work, business correspondence and reports came easily to me. With all this in mind, instead of watercolour lessons, I signed up for a writing class.

So began the journey that took me from there, more than ten years' ago, to here - and my own author website.

Are you on a path of discovery? Is writing a love in your life? Or, like me, is it a gift that you have been afraid to embrace and explore? I encourage you to do what it takes to fan it into flame. It is so worth it!

I write now because I must; I write for the joy and sanity it brings to my life. Anything else that flows out of that is a glorious bonus.

My Official Bio

Brenda Smit-James author of When God Says No, My Journey through Grief to Acceptance, works with mid-life women – and men – who want to write but don’t know where to start or who have started to write but don’t know in which direction to take it. So they stumble and stall, and feel frustrated and stuck.

Brenda’s specialty is memoir writing – and for two distinct reasons:

First, our lives provide much material that is ripe for writing. And as memoir is a fluid genre, it is an effective platform for anyone to get started with writing and to keep the momentum going.

Secondly, and more importantly, memoir writing is an effective means to evaluate our lives and visit some of those places that we may have, until now, successfully ignored, and to see them anew. Writing our stories guides us in knowing ourselves and our stories in a new life-giving way. It can provide insight and resolution, and thereby give us a fresh impetus to live the rest of our lives with renewed vigor and purpose.

Brenda’s quest is to show how memoir writing is more than an exercise in writing and creativity. As the process is exploratory, cathartic, and deeply transforming, it is also a life-empowering exercise in personal development.

Brenda’s pre-writing career encompassed being a bookkeeper, a high school English teacher, an accountant and a business manager. Brenda was born in South Africa and spent the first 30 years of her life in South Africa until she and her husband immigrated to Canada. Throughout her career, Brenda was regarded as diligent, insightful, and someone, for whom, producing quality work was important.

During her career, Brenda's writing skills were often called on to write effective and compelling reports, persuasive letters or clear communication. As an English teacher, Brenda’s first love was grammar – the structure of language intrigues her – and her second love was literature. Brenda earned her degree in literature and history from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Brenda lives with her husband in Vancouver, on the West Coast of Canada, where they love to hike, ski, and try out new recipes in the kitchen.

Are you ready to step into the journey of joining the dots of your life and discovering who you really are, not who you became, or who others wanted you to be?

Connect with Brenda on social media, join her writing circle or sign-up to be notified of the launch of her online writing course Live your Life, Write your Life™

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Photo Credits: Kelen Loewen and Dorian Loewen of KapturetheLight




Contact Brenda Smit-James Memoirist page