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Gateless Writing is a methodology that uses creative brain science, ancient Zen, and highly-effective craft tools + resources to move you beyond the conditioned, critical mind to a place of limitless creative potential beyond.
Through retreats, a leadership training program, our online Writers' Academy and one-on-one intensives, the Gateless methodology has shifted thousands of lives, helped build successful careers, and acted as the catalyst for many new and seasoned writers to generate innovative and domain-changing writing.
Practitioners of this methodology have won some of the industry's most prestigious awards, graced the nation's biggest stages, and appeared in the most influential media outlets but more, they are living lives of creative and intellectual freedom they never knew possible.
The Genesis of Gateless as a Methodology:
In 1993, as a Fulbright Scholarship studying Buddhism and meditation in Sri Lanka, I began researching what the Buddhists call Samadhi, a state of presence beyond the critical, conditioned mind, where the meditator enters their own limitless capacity. In Zen, this is also referred to as Gateless, represented by the symbol of the Enso and referring to the creator leaving their conditioning behind to become one with the artistic process.
Several years later, my first two novels sold to Scribner to high acclaim, were optioned for film, and translated widely abroad. I enrolled in a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and the Literary Arts at Bennington College and had my first bout of writer's block.
The writer's block arrived as I got deeper into the academic discipline of teaching writing, which is based on criticizing and deconstructing the work. The writing is thought of as broken and needing to be "fixed." Some creatives who enrolled in academic artistic programs were said to have foregone natural talent and never wrote/performed/painted/created again. Others described a feeling of fight or flight. Some had the sense that they had to create imitative work to survive. Still others said they were crippled by a belief that the rules were contradictory and they would never "get ahead" in their craft. .
For my senior thesis, I studied the creative process of great literary masters and found that the ones who made a lasting mark in the field and did not engage in the creative u-turn of attrition were in fact working from a space of ultimate freedom, the same place the monks described as Samadhi and ancient Zen referred to as Gateless.
The Brain Science Behind Gateless:
To understand how this state of limitless creative potential is reached, I began extensive research into creative brain science, particularly a scientific model of neuro-theology developed by Dr. Herzog at Harvard Medical School and Dr. Aquili and Dr. Newberg at Penn.
These researchers found that imagination and creativity are best accessed when we cease activity in the part of the brain associated with negativity and resistance. Researchers Charles Limb and Allen Braun at the National Institute of Health found that masterpieces are created when the area of the brain active during self-censoring is deactivated, inhibitions are shut down, and the region linked with self-expression is active.
Combining this brain science with potent craft tools, eastern philosophy, and industry know-how, I founded Gateless Writing, a model that breaks through creative blocks and provides writers the resources to reach their artistic visions.
The Success of Gateless Writing:
Gateless writers have been picked up by top agents, gone to auction with their books, gotten six-figure deals and received national media attention. (See testimonials here.) More importantly, Gateless influences every part of a writer's life. They begin to see how big their power in the world is. The model creates a certain magic, where we bust out of limitations (they aren’t really there), and reach beyond the original vision to create expansive, magnanimous lives that match what we have to offer.
How Gateless Writing Works:
In Gateless we use creative neuroscience to silence the part of the brain associated with internal and external criticism. We move writers to uncover their singular creative genius by utilizing deep Zen inquiry, guided support, and generative feedback along with craft resources and industry-know to create domain-changing work.
Not only has this process created outward success, you become part of a global network of writers, agents, publishers and high achieving leaders in the field of creative expression. The methodology and its community allows you to access a feeling of bliss and flow that is often lost since early years of childhood. For more on how to explore the Gateless model, check out our Retreats, one-on-one session, or become part of our team of teachers by getting certified in the Gateless method in our Gateless Teacher Training Program.
Suzanne Kingsbury is the award-winning author of two critically-acclaimed novels, The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me and The Gospel According to Gracey, both published by Scribner, translated widely abroad and optioned for film by Will Akers and Anne Hathaway.
In 2007 after graduating from Bennington College with a Masters of Fine Arts in Literature and Creative Writing, Suzanne founded Gateless Writing, a nationwide organization based on creative brain science and ancient Zen that supports writers to the point of publication and beyond.
Through salon-style retreats and workshops, one-on-one intensives and career training programs, Suzanne has helped countless writers on their path to signing with top agents, getting acquired by the NY houses, hitting bestseller lists and winning prestigious literary awards. Her secret sauce is her intuitive "channeling" which divines what the work needs and the highest vision of where the writer can go. In honing these abilities she has trained with Kristen Carmichael and Michael Harmon's School of Shamanic Studies. She is also trained in Thai Head Massage and Reiki.
Suzanne is the recipient of a Fulbright Award, an Oxford Town Fiction Award and has been shortlisted for the Robert Olen Butler Award for Short Fiction, the Fog City Writer’s Award and a Dana Award. Her work has been praised by internationally acclaimed authors including Robert Olmstead, Jim Harrison, Jill McCorkle, William Gay and others. Buzz Feed named her first novel a number one best summer read, Publishers Weekly has called her work fast paced and gripping, lush and evocative, The Independent called it Impressive, and Culture Fly has named her one of the most talented writer of our age.
She was the co-editor of the first Alumni Grill Anthology with William Gay and served as the fiction editor for the Bennington Review. Her shorter essays and short stories have been anthologized in At My Grandmother’s Table by Fairview Press, The Blue Moon Cafe Anthology by Macadam and Cage, and Contemporary Vermont Fiction by Green Writer’s Press. Her work has appeared in Glamour magazine, the LA Times, the Huffington Post, People Magazine, The Rolling Stone (European edition) and many other publications. The 2013 Writers’ Guide named her as one of the experts of the creative process.
In her previous life, Suzanne worked at the School for International Training with language and cultural immersion programs in Africa and Asia. She is a certified Laban Technique dance teacher (K-12) and has choreographed for the Bread and Puppet Theater and worked in Jacques D’Ambois' National Dance Institute in Soho. Today she lives on the shore of southern Connecticut and is one of the principal organizers of the Brattleboro Literary Festival. Currently she is at work on The Gateless Writer, a seminal book about the creative process.