Matt Gemmell

My book Raw Materials is out now!

A collection of personal essays, with exclusive content and author's notes.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Losing weight with Apple Watch

Health 17 min read

Want to lose some weight, but don’t really know how to start? A couple of years ago, I was in the same position. I was mostly sedentary, my waist measurement was creeping up steadily, and I didn’t feel very confident about my body being on display when I went on holiday.

Sponsor: SummerFest 2015

Sponsor 1 min read

My sincere thanks to SummerFest 2015 for sponsoring my writing this week. The apps on offer include my beloved Scrivener, Aeon Timeline, and Tinderbox – all of which I use. If you’re a writer, aspiring or otherwise, you’ll find some truly best-in-class creative tools here.

SummerFest 2015 is the festival of artisanal software for writers.

There’s still about a week to save 25% on great tools for writers and thinkers. Once again this year, we’ve gotten together with some of the leading software workshops to start the summer with a great (and sustainable) deal on tools with attitude – and 25% on any title from Take Control ebooks, too.

Essentials

Personal 4 min read

Your definition of what’s really important changes over time. The bare minimum set of people, stuff, and parts of the environment that you cannot be without. The baseline for you to be comfortable, or perhaps for you to even function.

You might not think about it often, but travelling brings it into sharp focus. The sudden need to decant your life into a couple of bags, complete with a weight limit. The paring-down process happens pretty quickly. What’s really, truly vital?

When I was seven or eight years old, the answer to that question was easy: Ghostbusters.

A Laptop for Writers

Tech & Writing 11 min read

When I buy a laptop, my main concern is portability. That’s been true for years now, but the reason has changed.

I used to be a software developer, and my computer use was split between my desktop machine (a big iMac with the maximum amount of RAM, upgraded processor, extra display, and all kinds of attached gadgets), and my “evening or travel” machine. I didn’t code, or design, on the evening machine if I could possibly help it – and since I work from home, the big desktop was always within reach.

Things changed overnight when I quit my career.

Voice Two

Personal 4 min read

You’re fine.

I hear that a lot. In some thankfully-rare weeks, I hear it almost daily.

Not from another person, but rather from inside my own head. The tone is conciliatory; even a little fatherly. It talks me down.

Half life

Personal 1 min read

I was born on this day, thirty-six years ago – which means that, traditionally, I’ve already had about half of my life.

Whether that turns out to be true or not, this seems like a milestone worthy of briefly marking. It certainly makes me pause and reflect.

Building an audience

Blog & Writing 4 min read

For some reason, people often ask me how I built my audience.

There are far better people to ask. They have more followers. They have more readers. They maybe have more of an active strategy. Maybe you should seek their advice instead.

But I do get asked that question, so I thought I’d at least try to formulate an answer, for posterity.

Sci-Fi

Personal 4 min read

I’m not sure I’d have made it through my teenage years without Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I’d get home from high school – which required a half-hour train journey across the city – at around 4:50 PM, and my grandmother would always have dinner just about ready. I’d take my plate, relocate to the living room, and switch on the TV.

We didn’t eat dinner together as a family; my father was gone by that point, and my mother taught in the evenings at her dance school, which was attached to the house. I’d see her occasionally, but not really until nine or ten o’clock at night, and then only briefly.

Dinnertime, for me, was all about Star Trek.

Respect Metrics

Blog & Tech 13 min read

I’m obsessed with the idea of duly respecting those who read my work. Other people, with their own lives and deadlines and priorities, investing some time – and focus – in my words. There are endless other things they could be doing, yet briefly, they’re here.

The same is true for the people who read your work. I’d like to talk about some of the ways you can design your site to give readers the respect they deserve.