Matt Gemmell

Raw Materials book cover image

My book Raw Materials is out now!

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

» Find out more

The gift of writing

3 min read

Dear reader,

I’m a writer. I’ve spent half my life getting to this point, if I’m only granted the traditional seventy years on this Earth. Today is my thirty-fifth birthday.

You’re one of over half a million readers to visit this blog in 2014, so far. Thank you so much.

I’m often asked by my many friends (and former colleagues) in the software development community if I’m tempted to return to that career. It’s a wonderful line of work, and filled with fascinating challenges, and intellectual achievement. It was a wonderful job for me.

But I have a new job now, and my answer to those who ask is that I’ve never been happier in my work than I am now. A writer is nothing without readers, and again, I’m deeply grateful to you for reading these words.

I have something for you

(Please note that the prize draw is now over! All winners have already been notified via email.)

I’d like to offer you a small token of my thanks, and I’d like to do so by encouraging you to write.

Everyone has something to say; a story to tell. We have our opinions, and reactions, our thoughts and our fantasies. Yours have every bit as much value as mine, and the world could benefit from your voice. I can promise you that there’s enormous satisfaction in sharing your words with others.

I’ve written previously about my favourite writing tools, and I thought it would be fitting to give you the chance to use them (and love them) yourself.

I’m extremely grateful to Literature and Latte, Barebones Software, and Dreamhost for the opportunity to give away some rather cool prizes:

  • 10 copies of Scrivener for Mac, so you can write your novel, thesis, long-form journalism piece, or whatever you fancy. I’m writing my novel in Scrivener.

  • 10 copies of Scrivener for Windows, so you can do so on Microsoft Windows instead of Mac OS X.

  • 5 copies of BBEdit for Mac (which I’m using at this moment), so you can write those blog posts, create web pages, massage text, write scripts, and any of about a thousand other things. I write everything other than my novel (including blog posts, magazine commissions, and more) in BBEdit.

  • 1 pre-paid year of Dreamhost web hosting, including one free domain registration. Because your words should be shared with others, on your own terms.

That’s twenty-six different prizes, and you can pick which one you’d like to win. I sought these particular prizes because they’ll allow you to share your voice. It’s the best way I can think of to repay the enormous compliment of you reading my words.

(The prize draw is now over. Thanks for your entries, and all the kind words!).

I’ll do a prize-draw in a week or two, and contact the lucky people personally. Please enter only once. Winners will be chosen at random, using a random number generator. Simple and fair.

I’d like to add a special note of personal thanks to Rich Siegel and Keith Blount for their support and enthusiasm.

A note about your privacy

I’m running this prize draw myself, not on behalf of anyone else. Here’s what’ll happen with your data:

  1. Everything submitted to me via the form will be deleted after the prize draw is over, and the prizes have been delivered. Nobody else will ever get a copy of it, not even the companies providing the prizes - you have my word.

  2. If you win the Dreamhost hosting, you’ll get a coupon to use when signing up. I won’t provide any info to Dreamhost on your behalf. I won’t know anything about it.

  3. If you win a copy of Scrivener, you’ll get a coupon to use to ‘buy’ the product for free, on its own web store. As part of that process, you’ll supply the usual fulfilment contact info, and receive your license. I won’t know anything about it.

  4. If you win a copy of BBEdit, I’ll provide your license to you directly. Barebones likes to be able to look up lost license info for customers, so I’ll give them your name and email address, which will only be used for that purpose.

You will not receive any spam. You won’t be signed up for any newsletters. I won’t email you, ever, unless you win a prize - and then I’ll only email you to give you your prize. No-one else will email you on my behalf. I hate spam too. I’ve tried to make this as simple and pleasant as possible.

You don’t have to follow me on Twitter (though I’d really love it if you did), or retweet, or do anything else to be eligible. You’re already eligible. It doesn’t matter where you live.

I wish you the very best of luck, and I hope to read your words sometime soon.

Thank you

In closing, I’d like to point you to my own curated list of what I feel is some of my best writing. I spend hours every single day trying to improve my work, and those pieces are a few of the examples where I feel I managed to best make my point. I hope you’ll enjoy them, and I hope you’ll come back again soon.

My writing is supported by readers like you. Any contribution helps enormously.

Thank you so much for reading.


You can follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with articles like this.

If you’re a business interested in reaching my readers, I also offer sponsorship opportunities.