Gateless Writing Retreats

The magic of creativity meets the power of productivity in this delicious one-of-a-kind salon-style writing vacation called Gateless.  Build your book, create the writing career you’ve been waiting for, together let’s demystify the publishing experience and move your writing beyond your wildest dreams.

Come Join Us!!  Every few months a small group of writers run away together on what I call Gateless writing retreats.  Gateless is about nurturing the writer.  While society has previously believed that good writing is born from criticism, recent brain science has found that domain-changing creativity occurs when writers are cherished and encouraged.  Retreat houses are sprawling and light filled, they hold the writer with nooks for reading, delicious home-cooked meals, a beach, sauna and/or hot tub. They provide inspirational classic writing books, an ocean to swim in and miles of beach for seashell searching walks.  Most of all we write, read aloud and connect with a dream team of writers who can help move us forward on the creative journey of a lifetime.

“Suzanne has been my guiding light and my inspiration.  Since that first Gateless retreat, my story has been highly praised by the best editors at major media outlets.  Some of the top publishing houses in New York considered my memoir for publication.  At this last retreat, I just signed a book deal for my memoir!” ~Kathleen Murray Moran, New York, professor and author of the upcoming memoir, The Widow and the Hijacker.

The Writing Retreat of a Lifetime:  The core of the Gateless experience are the salon-style writing sessions.  The inspiration that leads the sessions viscerally connects you with your intuit.  From that place, we write.  Whether writers work on new pieces or continue with work they brought along, they are consistently surprised by the power of what they put on the page.  During feedback, we don’t “fix” or deconstruct the work because this reverses activity in the part of the brain associated with imagination and creativity.  Instead, we foster your innate talent, show you where the work has energy, where your words shine and shimmer, and where your writing is singularly unique.  Because we are focusing on your genius, anything not working simply falls away.  As you listen to feedback, you receive bodywork, so that you not only blast through blocks in the body, but also on the page.  During feedback, you are passed craft tools so that you have the skills you need to feel powerful when you re-enter the work.  Sharing sacred writing space in this way actually shifts neurotransmitters and fires feel-good endorphins so that you begin to associate the act of writing with absolute bliss. This process has created incredibly potent work that has garnered best-selling book deals and publications in some of the nation’s best literary journals.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I will definitely be back on retreat. I learned so much, made lifetime friends and had a blast and thanks to you I am writing like crazy!  I’m in the flow, getting so much down, my mind working faster than I can type.  No more blank page.”  ~Kim Griffin, horse-whisperer, Texas.

Who Comes to Retreat?  In our daily lives we are CEO’s, editors, attorneys, brand strategists, life coaches, therapists, moms, doctors, teachers, writers, artists and much more.  We long to create by the sea or cuddle up in the mountains with our laptops.  We also want to be productive and believe that our dreams of becoming shape-shifting writers can actually come true.  They can.

Should You Come to Retreat?  Gateless retreats attract anyone from seasoned writers on their last drafts to writers who have journaled all their lives and want to explore their relationship with the written word.  What’s incredible is that writing and sharing in the Gateless method creates a common denominator, it alchemizes a group to previously uncharted heights.  Wherever you are, if you are hearing the urgent call to write but have felt blocked, if you want to finish a manuscript but don’t know where to begin, if you have been waiting for a portal to open so that you can finally feel at home in your own creative skin, come.  Share delicious meals, get the bodywork you crave, play on the page, find your voice, hear where you are strong, find again that fantastically fun playmate called the muse.  The retreat is probably not for you if you believe criticism is the only catalyst for  great work, if you don’t like to be touched, if you don’t want to risk crying or laughing really hard or if you are not at all interested in the depth and wisdom of your own intuit. But if you are feeling a resonance, a whispered yes, that’s a huge sign that you are ready for Gateless.

“I miss you guys already. I just wanted to thank you for your smile, encouragement and the amazing experience of being in a room nestled, among incredible writers and feeling safe to share without embarrassment.  Thank you for making me listen to the positive things being said about my writing.  My new outlook is going to be viewing through the lens of positivity, start with what is working about a piece, the relationship, the thing I am struggling with and say it out loud.  THANK YOU! ~Lindsay Agne, founder of Full Circle Fertility, Massachusetts.

Craft Tools and Take-Aways for Your Work:  One very strong piece of the Gateless retreat is to provide the skills you need to create both mastery on the page and a life-long career in writing.  Literary agent and publishing guru Dede Cummings accompanies me on many retreats.  Both of us are entrenched and well-networked in the industry and have the connections and skills to move you in any direction you desire with your writing.  We will  pass you the tools you need to build the novel, craft the self-help or tell the story you’ve wanted to tell for so long.  We will pass you all our secrets on queries, proposals, top media outlets, lit journals, titles, author branding and agents.  You will feel “duded up” when you leave retreat, with enough skills to make your vision come alive.  After retreat, you are invited to join our powerful online community of writers.  This private network includes writers who have been published by top media outlets, shortlisted (and awarded!) prestigious literary awards, hit bestseller lists and found their lives changing through the power of the written word.

jeff-woodward-retreat-picture“I signed up for retreat unsure of what I might get out of the weekend.  Not only did I fall in love with my writing (and a particularly gorgeous man, no doubt a result of the Gateless method finding its way into our emails!), this experience has given me faith in my voice as a writer, respect for the ability of my words to help people and the confidence to push my work into channels I’d never have thought to try.”  ~Catie Webster, brand strategist and life coach, Montana.

Massage and Bodywork Just For You:  Yes, it’s true, when you sign up for a Gateless retreat, a staff massage therapist will be on hand to serve you some of the best bodywork you’ve ever received.  We bring along bodyworkers who are known in their fields for the powerful work they do as seasoned practitioners.  In the past they have included Margie Pivar, eminent shiatsu therapist, founder of The Shiatsu School of Vermont and author of the internationally-acclaimed Fourth Uncle in the Mountain, and Karen Kenney, Thai bodyworker and trainer, founder of Quest Yoga, spiritual adviser, and host of the The Yoga Show with Karen.  Our massage therapist is our retreat mama, on hand to nurture and hold you.

Writing Retreats“I came into retreat feeling blocked, distant from my writing, and rudderless.  The intense work and deep nourishment of retreat lifted me out of my busy life and grounded me again as a writer.  Now I have a plan for my manuscript, agent interest and a surefooted way to move forward.”—Kate Baldwin, writing teacher, editor, Massachusetts.

How Did These Retreats Begin?  I was working one-on-one as a book shaman, helping new writers think big about their books, building their brands, writing top-selling proposals, hooking them up with agents, and cheerleading (really loud) as previously unpublished writers signed contracts, negotiated big deals and saw their books go to auction. At the same time, I was holding weekly writing salons in my home in Vermont.  At salon we ate chocolate, drank wine, lazed around on couches, wrote wrote wrote in the Gateless method, encouraged each others’ genius and leaned into our strengths.  And…miracles happened.  Life-long friendships were formed and people fell in love again: with themselves, with each other, with their writing.  We  found agents and got book deals but more than that?  Our lives changed.

“I was a reluctant former poet jaded by years of criticism in creative writing academia. Gateless has helped me rediscover the writer I was as a child, a little girl in love with words and the act of putting pen to paper.” ~Diana Whitney, Vermont,  founder of Core Flow Yoga, and author of a new book of poetry from Harbor Mountain Press, Wanting It.

And That’s When the Magic Happened!  I thought: What if the powerhouse work of making a writer an enterprise were combined with these enchanted Gateless salons?  What if I invited writers from all over the world to escape to a beautiful place to create wild, wonderful, life-changing prose?  The alchemy of the salon-style Gateless retreat started there.  After coming to retreat, people have watched their writing take off.  Their lives and relationships grew deeper, richer and fuller as a result of this process.  Gateless writers never again need to be afraid of the blocks and the false starts.  You come away flying.

“This retreat was the best money I ever spent…” ~Laura Rothschild, budding novelist, California.

When And Where Are the Retreats?  Salon-style Gateless writing retreats happen at various locations throughout the year.  Pick your 2015-2016 retreat below.  If you do not see a retreat that suits, the Gateless Teacher Training Program is now training writers and coaches to lead salon-style Gateless retreats all over the world.  Shoot me an email at so we can find one just for you!

Marlboro, Vermont: September 10-13th, 2015. One of our most extraordinary Gateless retreats ever. Mindfulness expert, author and animal intuit Nicole Birkholzer and I are teaming up to offer you an incredible weekend of equine-inspired writing.  To learn more about this retreat, get a sneak peek at accommodations and the schedule and to see more about Nicole, come visit us here:  If you are feeling a pull but need lots more information to be sure sure, always feel free to email me at

Outer Banks, North Carolina: April 2016.  Set up in a sprawling beach manse by the ocean, retreat participants get private rooms with beach views. Bodywork is included as are hot tub soaks and organic meals.  This retreat is intimate and intense and includes hours of writing and reading aloud by the sea.  To get a full schedule of activities please feel free to email me directly at

Cork, Ireland: NEW! May 2016.  The sea cliffs of Cork are considered the most spiritual part of Ireland, and the hills have inspired writers to complete novels and finally start their memoirs.  Our private house in Cork is beautifully situated along the coast with room to spread out with our writing, and a fireplace where we can cozy up at night to read aloud.  This retreat has been in the making for a long time.  It is our longest retreat (five days) and one that promises to set your creative fire ablaze.

Coming in June: For the very first time Gateless heads to the internationally-acclaimed Omega Institute in Upstate New York. Medical intuit Katina Makris and I are helping an intimate number of participants reclaim our Inner Eden and use writing to blast through incredible blocks in the body via Katina’s extraordinary Intuitive Healing Skills. Experience catharsis from pain and trauma, emerge with newfound inner intelligence and tap into self-actualized wisdom you never knew you had. Contact me to get on a waiting list for this program!

If you are looking to retreat, feel free to get in touch, together let’s find the perfect one for you:

“Now I can quit my day job.” ~Dulcie Whitman, psychotherapist, Maine, after her first Gateless Retreat, she is now a Gateless Certified teacher.

How Do I Sign Up?   Retreats fill fast, so reserve your space as soon as you can!! Prices range from $750 to $1575, depending on locale and room choice.  They include everything but the vehicle to get you there.  Contact me if you would like to find the perfect retreat for you:


Do You Want to Become Certified to Teach?  Our Gateless Gate Teacher Training Program will certify you to teach Gateless in community classes, private workshops and destination retreats.  For details, visit us here: Gateless Teacher Training.

The Writing Retreat That Will Change Your Life