Meet Brenda Smit-James

I never expected to be a writer!

My Writer's Journey

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

It was the experience of an 18-month depression in my late thirties that set me on the path of unearthing and giving expression to the writer within me. As 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 this much, it had to 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 - but not for a moment did I consider the possibility that I could write.

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.

Brenda Smit-James Memoir Author and Teacher

And so, when I was in my late thirties looking for something to make my life more meaningful and to ignite joy in my life, I looked within remembered the accolades I received about my writing and started to entertain the thought that - just maybe - I could write.

Instead of watercolor lessons, I signed up for a writing class.

So began the journey that took me from there 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 that it brings to my life. Anything else that flows out of it is a glorious bonus.

My Official Bio

Brenda Smit-James author of When God Says No, My Journey through Grief to Acceptance uses the versatility of memoir writing to help others to explore their lives, move forward in key areas where they may be stuck, and experience the insight and freedom that comes from looking at our lives through the written word.

Brenda’s quest is to show how memoir writing is more than simply an exercise in writing and creativity. Rather, writing about our lives is an effective means to evaluate our lives and visit those places that we may have, until now, successfully ignored - and to see them anew.

Writing our stories is cathartic. Telling our stories guides us in knowing ourselves, and those in our lives, in a more compassionate way. It is deeply transforming as it can help us reach a place of acceptance and resolution. And when it does, we are blessed with an impetus to live our lives with renewed vigor and purpose.

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.

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.