Matt Gemmell

The Writer’s Life – Back Issues

This page contains links to back issues of The Writer’s Life, my newsletter that’s exclusively for members.


  • Issue 1 - 23rd February, 2015
    The prologue of my novel, Changer. Thoughts on my true written voice. Finding your tone. Showing appreciation.

  • Issue 2 - 2nd March, 2015
    Remembering Leonard Nimoy. My secret genre. Stories as found objects. About outlining, and finding time for reading.

  • Issue 3 - 9th March, 2015
    Channelling fear into fiction. An introduction to drinking whisky. Reading and writing without sight. Collaborating on plot development.

  • Issue 4 - 16th March, 2015
    Membership so far. My three tones. Hearing the voices of women. Writing about the difficult stuff.

  • Issue 5 - 23rd March, 2015
    On motivation, and the darker emotions that can lie behind it.

  • Issue 6 - 30th March, 2015
    On sharing our words, and the fear we naturally feel.

  • Issue 7 - 6th April, 2015
    On why your words matter, and how you’re not just writing for yourself.

  • Issue 8 - 13th April, 2015
    On failure, and the dark voice inside that can strip away our sense of worth.

  • Issue 9 - 20th April, 2015
    On the junction points in life, and decisions that can define our future.

  • Issue 10 - 27th April, 2015
    On science fiction, and how it embodies hope.

  • Issue 11 - 4th May, 2015
    On the other voices inside us, and the one I turn to in times of trouble.

  • Issue 12 - 11th May, 2015
    On the UK’s recent General Election, and how Scotland feels about the outcome. Also, announcing The Writer’s Life discussion group, for fellow writers.

  • Issue 13 - 18th May, 2015
    On my shifting relationship with money, during the various changes I’ve made in life.

  • Issue 14 - 25th May, 2015
    On dreams; the natural domain of the storyteller.

  • Issue 15 - 1st June, 2015
    On obsession, as both the ally and nemesis of creative output.

  • Issue 16 - 8th June, 2015
    On solving life’s problems by asking questions.

  • Issue 17 - 15th June, 2015
    On finding the essentials in life, and how our perspective on what’s important alters over time.

  • Issue 18 - 22nd June, 2015
    On learning not to be ashamed of my taste in music.

  • Issue 19 - 29th June, 2015
    Whatever you grew up with seems normal, even if it’s not.

  • Issue 20 - 6th July, 2015
    On the difficulties in asking for – and being asked for – free promotion.

  • Issue 21 - 13th July, 2015
    On thankfulness, and not waiting until it’s too late.

  • Issue 22 - 20th July, 2015
    On creating characters for works of fiction.

  • Issue 23 - 27th July, 2015
    On asymmetrical socialising, and when it can be unsettling.

  • Issue 24 - 3rd August, 2015
    A short piece of original fiction, entitled “Waiting”.

  • Issue 25 - 10th August, 2015
    A short piece of original fiction, entitled “Denning’s Walk”.

  • Issue 26 - 17th August, 2015
    On structured thought, and software tools for thinkers.

  • Issue 27 - 24th August, 2015
    On those moments when you’re certain that your work is rubbish.

  • Issue 28 - 31st August, 2015
    Sharing the cover artwork and some other details about my upcoming novel, “Changer”.

  • Issue 29 - 7th September, 2015
    What I’ve learned about writing during the last eleven years.

  • Issue 30 - 14th September, 2015
    On Autumn, herald of change and reminder of the work we’ve yet to do.

  • Issue 31 - 21st September, 2015
    On the flaws in the ethical argument against ad-blocking.

  • Issue 32 - 28th September, 2015
    On breaking down challenging periods of life into intervals.

  • Issue 33 - 5th October, 2015
    On taking due care when writing and reading, lest we lose control of the magic of words.

  • Issue 34 - 12th October, 2015
    Emotional isn’t a derogatory word.

  • Issue 35 - 19th October, 2015
    When I’m unhappy due to online interactions, it’s often my own fault.

  • Issue 36 - 26th October, 2015
    On the precariousness of having an elevated position in your chosen community.

  • Issue 37 - 2nd November, 2015
    What I’ve learned about relationships since I was a young man.

  • Issue 38 - 9th November, 2015
    On being grounded and reassured by having the past all around.

  • Issue 39 - 16th November, 2015
    On our reactions when faced with acts of terrorism.

  • Issue 40 - 23rd November, 2015
    On growing up surrounded by belief in the supernatural.

  • Issue 41 - 30th November, 2015
    On the things you become familiar with, whether you choose to or not.

  • Issue 42 - 7th December, 2015
    On the one morning each year when our living room door led elsewhere.

  • Issue 43 - 14th December, 2015
    On what I learned while taking a break from the internet.

  • Issue 44 - 21st December, 2015
    On the importance of reading.

  • Issue 45 - 28th December, 2015
    Whatever you write, it’s not rubbish.

  • Issue 46 - 4th January, 2016
    On our resolutions for the new year.

  • Issue 47 - 11th January, 2016
    On holding myself accountable for my work.

  • Issue 48 - 18th January, 2016
    On the tension of holding two opposing beliefs simultaneously.

  • Issue 49 - 25th January, 2016
    On finding balance between creativity at work and elsewhere.

  • Issue 50 - 1st February, 2016
    On the silver lining of even our most challenging days.

  • Issue 51 - 8th February, 2016
    On the philosophy of finding the Minimum Viable Product.

  • Issue 52 - 15th February, 2016
    On my relationship with sleep, and that place we all visit each night.

  • Issue 53 - 22nd February, 2016
    On the creation and control of worlds.

  • Issue 54 - 29th February, 2016
    On the unique tone and style of each writer.

  • Issue 55 - 7th March, 2016
    On the power that names hold.

  • Issue 56 - 14th March, 2016
    On being pulled along by the larger forces in life.

  • Issue 57 - 21st March, 2016
    On our conflicting affinities for envy and empathy.

  • Issue 58 - 28th March, 2016
    On change, and relinquishing control.

  • Issue 59 - 4th April, 2016
    On channelling human darkness into writing, as a way to explore and accept it.

  • Issue 60 - 11th April, 2016
    On playing a role, in lieu of understanding our relationships with others.

  • Issue 61 - 18th April, 2016
    On the place I’m always drawn to in bookshops.

  • Issue 62 - 25th April, 2016
    On the spectre of being denied visual imagination.

  • Issue 63 - 2nd May, 2016
    On the days when the words won’t come.

  • Issue 64 - 9th May, 2016
    On the vulnerabilities of the fragile human mind.

  • Issue 65 - 16th May, 2016
    On intruding into the lives of others.

  • Issue 66 - 23rd May, 2016
    On accepting that I’m a wearer of spectacles.

  • Issue 67 - 30th May, 2016
    On people-watching, and seeing someone else instead.

  • Issue 68 - 6th June, 2016
    Lessons I’ve learned about revising a novel.

  • Issue 69 - 13th June, 2016
    On stopping to appreciate when everything’s OK.

  • Issue 70 - 20th June, 2016
    CHANGER.

  • Issue 71 - 27th June, 2016
    That feeling when you release an adventure novel about Europe, then the UK votes to leave the EU.

  • Issue 72 - 4th July, 2016
    On the cover of my first novel, twenty-five years ago.

  • Issue 73 - 11th July, 2016
    On never really knowing other people.

  • Issue 74 - 18th July, 2016
    On the liberating effect of being more expressive and upbeat online.

  • Issue 75 - 25th July, 2016
    On the risks in allowing fiction to be inspired by actual events.

  • Issue 76 - 1st August, 2016
    A bonus post-epilogue chapter from CHANGER. Contains spoilers for the book.

  • Issue 77 - 8th August, 2016
    On not missing what I used to do.

  • Issue 78 - 15th August, 2016
    On what I learned when I was forced to strip my working environment down to the bare minimum.

  • Issue 79 - 22nd August, 2016
    On perspective, and No Man’s Sky.

  • Issue 80 - 29th August, 2016
    On the creative necessity of not being overly impressed with yourself.

  • Issue 81 - 5th September, 2016
    Looking back on when I launched my site, twelve years ago.

  • Issue 82 - 12th September, 2016
    Other people’s money, and being fine with it — or not.

  • Issue 83 - 19th September, 2016
    On the smaller things in life.

  • Issue 84 - 26th September, 2016
    On inexorable personal change.