Gateless Writing Retreats

Our next retreat in Joshua Tree, CA,  January 19-22, 2023. To learn more come HERE.  To register, simply email us: 

What are Gateless Retreats? The magic of creativity meets the power of productivity in our delicious one-of-a-kind salon-style writing retreats.

Sweet support for the genius writer within: Every few months an intimate group of writers run away together. 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, and bodywork. You will be surrounded by inspirational and classic writing books, an ocean to swim in, and miles of beach for seashell-seeking 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 Salon: 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. Approaching work with criticism is opinion-based teaching, and this reverses activity in the part of the brain associated with imagination and creativity. At Gateless, we foster your innate talent, show you where the work has energy, where the craft is singing and where the power lives. Because we are focusing on your genius, anything not working simply falls away. You will generate more work than you ever thought possible, access inside industry expertise, and reach completely new zeniths in creative potential.

As you listen to feedback, you receive bodywork, so that you not only move through blocks on the page, but also in the somatic field. During feedback, you are passed craft tools so you can feel powerful on the page as you move into your work. Sharing writing in this way actually shifts neurotransmitters and fires endorphins so that you begin to associate the act of writing with bliss. This process has created incredibly potent work that has led to best-selling book deals, literary awards, and attention from 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. Writing and sharing in the Gateless method creates a common denominator and 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 beautiful 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 Takeaways for Your Work: One very strong piece of the Gateless retreat is getting the skills you need to create both mastery on the page and a lifelong career in writing. Though writers of all levels and genres come to retreat, you will always be exposed to writers who 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 write 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 buoyed 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.

“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; Karen Kenney, Thai bodyworker and trainer, founder of Quest Yoga, spiritual adviser, and host of the The Yoga Show with Karen; Sarah Byrden, a certified instructor in the MogaDao tradition who teaches Archetypal Qigong, Sacred Daoist Sexuality, and 5 Element Yoga; Lara Darrow, psychotherapist and somatic movement therapist; and Colin Leech, known for her deep touch, intuitive and therapeutic work, her integrative positional release, and her reflexology. 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" (my writers' name for me), helping new writers think big about their books by 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 other's genius, and leaned into our strengths.

And ... miracles happened. Lifelong 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.

When And Where Are the Retreats? Salon-style Gateless writing retreats happen at various locations throughout the year. Pick your 2020 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. Send us an email at so we can find one just for you.

"This retreat was the best money I ever spent … .” ~Laura Rothschild, literary agent, California.


Upcoming Retreats:

Shamanic Gateless Writing Retreat, Joshua Tree, CA, January 19-222023. A Gateless Writing Retreat designed for the deep-dive writer who wants to explore the spirit of the word. This retreat includes eight powerful Gateless Writing Salons, feedback that supports and buoys the writing, daily Thai head massage + Reiki, tarot and astrology readings, sound healing and a culminating Shamanic healing on Saturday night. A private chef will cook farm-to-table meals and juicing will be available. Get ready for a feeling of freedom and ecstasy you may never have experienced before. An incredible exploration into the rich narrative of your most creative self. Prices range from $1875-$2350 depending on room choice. More info HERE. Questions or to apply:  

Gateless Great Escape Writing Retreat, Portugal, April, 2023.
This 4-day Gateless Writing retreat was designed so you could make mad love to the muse and dive deep into the surprising wellspring of the limitless creative mind. This is a content-creation retreat in a 9-bedroom manse on the coast of Portugal. Private chef, our very own massage therapist, Gateless Writing salons to work on on-going projects, and excursions to some of the most beautiful historic sites on the coast to inspire your work. This is a writing retreat haven. Expect to generate an incredible repertoire of new work, discover the power and strength of what you can do on the page, and find one of the most divine creative sanctuaries away from the whirlwind of contemporary daily life. Prices range from $2100-$2500 depending on room choice. Questions or to apply:

Gateless Classic Writing Retreat, the Thimble Islands, September 19-22, 2023. Our most popular retreat. This four-day retreat is held in a light-filled manse. For four days you will cozy up and create content with 12 writers during eight Gateless Writing salons. You will be immersed in a methodology that uses brain science and "feel-good" neurotransmitters to support the writer, moves you through blocks to your best work, and frees your creative mind. Retreat includes private chef and daily Thai head massage and Reiki, and the incredible experience of creating writing that will blow your literary mind. Prices range from $1575-$2350 depending on room choice. Questions or to apply:

If you are looking to get certified to teach Gateless Writing, our Teacher Training Retreat happens in the fall and spring of every year.  Together we will 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 and runs fantastic writing retreats of her own.

How Do I Sign Up? Retreats fill fast, so reserve your space as soon as you can!! Prices range from $1875-2350, depending on locale, day rate and room choice. This includes everything but the vehicle to get you there. Contact me if you would like to find the perfect retreat for you:

Cancellation Policy


Do You Want to Become Certified as a Gateless Teacher/Coach/Facilitator? Our Gateless 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