Matt Gemmell

My new book CHANGER is out now!

An action-adventure novel — book one in the KESTREL series.

» Find out more

Negotiations

Tech 8 min read

For as long as there have been ads, there have been ways to avoid seeing them.

Technology has kept pace on both sides, but ad-blocking has never really become mainstream. It remained the domain of the tinkerers, who knew about browser extensions at the very least, or proxies, or hosts files. Extensions were as approachable as blocking has ever been, but the vast majority of normal (i.e. non-technical) people probably don’t go anywhere near them. And so the ads were always seen.

Things are starting to change. Legislation, public perception, and consumer-focused functionality have all woken up to issues of privacy, intrusive tracking, and our never-ending exposure to advertising.

We’re slowly realising that we have options, and that we should perhaps begin to exercise them.

Social Dark

Productivity & Tech 2 min read

As someone who has worked from a home office for the last eight years, I’ve learned that the primary enemy of productivity isn’t lack of motivation, or shortage of creativity, but rather dealing with distractions.

I often find it difficult to get started, and then I find it very difficult to remain focused. There are times when I’m sufficiently engrossed in a task that hours seem to vanish – for me, that’s usually when I’m writing new material – but there are also many times when even staying in work mode for half an hour is a challenge (usually when editing).

Social media is the biggest problem for me, followed closely by web distractions like shopping and reading. After considering it for a while, I’ve taken the perhaps extreme step of going social dark on my laptop.

Autumn

Personal 3 min read

The change has already begun.

You first see it in the fading evening light, a little earlier each week. The palette begins to shift – subtly at first, then more quickly. The sunlight itself, low in the sky, darkens.

Colours reach saturation, losing the simple brightness of the warmer months. Nature deepens, in keeping with the seriousness of the matter ahead: the transition between the seasons of light and darkness.

Obsession

Personal 4 min read

I run hot and cold – or at least, that’s what my grandmother always used to tell me.

What she meant was that at any given moment, I either absolutely love something, or absolutely hate it, with little room for anything in between. As always, she was right.

Normal

Personal 6 min read

I had an average childhood. So did you. Because that’s how it works, isn’t it?

Whatever you grew up with, by definition, was ordinary. It takes years for awareness to set in, when you start to realise that maybe some parts of your experience differed from the average. It takes years more until you get enough perspective to see things objectively.

Let me tell you a little bit about my ordinary.

Membership so far

Blog 11 min read

In February this year, I introduced a membership option for this site. Membership is a way for you to support my writing here at mattgemmell.com, to ensure I can continue to create interesting content (including fiction and non-fiction books) for you to enjoy, and also get some rewards in the process.

I had no idea at all if a membership system would work, if my site was suitable for that sort of support option, or if any of my readers would be interested. Now that we’re five months in, I’d like to briefly talk about my experiences so far.

Eulogy

Personal 4 min read

Whenever someone passes away, we soon learn just how valued, admired, and loved they were.

Tributes flow in. Warm anecdotes, recollections of kindnesses, and sharing of the wisdom of the deceased. Our lament is sharpened by honouring the one we’ve lost.

It’s a good thing, for the most part. Celebrating the positives and downplaying anything else, because it’s the decent and respectful thing to do. Speak no ill of the dead, lest… well, what? It’s impolite? They might somehow take vengeance? Or you just might join them sooner than you expect, so there but for the grace, and so forth.

At the very least, it’s common courtesy – it’s not like they’re still around to defend themselves against any insult, nor to benefit from the praise. And there’s the problem.

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.

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.