Writing doesn't have to be so hard.
Let's reclaim writing from red pens and remember that
Fun is a Necessity.
Hi! I'm Alex.
I'm the Vermont-based Gateless Writing Teacher behind
Fun is a Necessity.
Whether you're new and nervous, or an established word wizard looking for inspiration,
I'm so glad you're here!
Tales from the Page
Even though the idea of sharing my writing terrifies me, I recently attended an online Gateless course with Alex. Throughout my life, but especially in art and writing, I've worried about being perfect or good enough. I fear I’ll say the wrong thing, like, "What if I tell someone something they did was bad, but it was good and I have no taste?"
In this salon, we were all assured, you don’t have to share, and you don’t have to give feedback. Whenever I felt internally pressured to speak, Alex noticed that and repeated these tenets.
I didn’t share my work for the first time around, but I did during the second round of writing. Gateless is set up so when you do give feedback, this radical thing happens: people point out the good in the writing and only the good. It was relieving to say no without repercussions, and to have the opportunity to hear my writing isn’t total shit. By the end of the class, I found myself drawing hearts in my notebook as Alex suggested ways we might do this for ourselves, outside of group. I’m honestly so happy I signed up for the class and grateful for Alex for holding the space, leading us through the journey, and being such an encouraging teacher.
Rachel N., Painter and Environmentalist, Massachusetts, USA
I was a little nervous to participate in Gateless since I don’t consider myself a “writer” but as soon as Alex began introducing the salon - all those nerves melted away!
The experience as a whole was exciting, challenging, and inspiring. It helped me to overcome my fear of sharing “my work” in such a gentle and supportive way.
I especially enjoyed hearing from the other authors, including Alex, and getting a little peek into their minds and lives. It was both refreshing and connective to share a space so honestly.
Gateless writing is a transformational experience and I truly think everyone could benefit by participating in one of Alex’s Salons - whether you consider yourself a writer or not!
Lucy V., Meditation Teacher and Lifestyle Artist,
British Columbia, Canada
At 55, deciding to expand my writing beyond journaling was an intimidating prospect. I was skeptical that Gateless could provide the right framework for my untested writing.
Alex's non-judgmental approach and the wonderful group of women in my salon opened my head, my heart and help guide my words to create more than I could have imagined.
Thank you for providing me with a new outlet for my writing and re-introducing me to "my words" in a unique and thought provoking
Deborah G., Life Coach and Mother Extraordinaire, Pennsylvania, USA
Last week, I joined a Gateless Writing group with Alex and 4 others. I was exhausted from a busy day and I didn't want to force myself to go, even though I had committed. Something inside me, however, was genuinely looking forward to what would be our group that week, and from somewhere I knew that I didn't have to be any other way than just the way I was at that moment.
No need to be good or prove myself, just show up.
How relaxing! There has been a lot happening in my life and I've not found as perfect a place to express it and feel nurtured by that and others. I am extremely grateful to Alex, who is so kind and cool to have organized and invited me to this group and also to the other group members. I find Alex to be encouraging and uplifting and It was just wonderful. I am looking forward to our next meeting.
Irene J., Writer and Teaching Artist, California, USA
My Writing Story
Writing started with letters. Capital block letters. Written alongside my mom. I convinced her to teach me how to write my name in cursive early. My mom was told by my second grade teacher that I made my o's backwards and a classmate informed me that I wasn't making my cursive x's properly. Well hugs and kisses to them—there began my role as a very mild, often unintentional rebel who just really didn't think stupid things like the direction you draw a circular letter should be that important.
I studied literature in college, and linguistics, and Spanish, and Secondary English Education. I was on track to becoming a middle school English teacher. But in order for my soul to not die, I had to either learn to like coercing vibrant young people into doing the teenaged equivalents of drawing o's properly, or I had to... not become a traditional English teacher.
You can see which option I'm going with for the time being.
I adore words. Freakin' adore them. And I am an equal opportunity word lover. I love the high brow eloquence of sequipedalian expressions and appreciate gregarious people who speak with deep enthusiasm about philosophical topics of true erudition. I also have a deep and passionate love of the f-word, and will expound about said passion at length to anyone would would like to challenge me (or co-fangirl with me) about it's magnificence. In short--it can be nearly any f-ing part of speech and can be used to express eff-rything from joy to grief to lust, anything from deep silliness to clench-jawed rage.
I love versatility in general. Both/and is one of my life mottos, and paradox is my modus operandi. I'm not a huge fan of either/ors, or trying to demand that the world make sense to me. Both have caused me unnecessary frustration.
So I don't buy that you can either choose to be a good writer, or to be happy and get enough sleep. I'd like both.
And I don't buy that good writing has to mean that either you turn in something bad, or you have to kill your darlings and throw out your favorite bits in the editing process.
I'm about joy. I'm about trust. I'm about love. I'm about silliness. I'm about throwing shit at the wall and seeing if it sticks. (Not literally, but if that's your thing, it sounds a little weird and smelly, but who I am I to judge?) I'm about compliments. I try to be about telling people what I'm for, rather than what I'm against. I try to focus on possibilities rather than shortfalls. Whenever possible, I emphasize power and strength rather than pointing out failures and weaknesses. I think that red pen should be used to point out the good. That tests, if they must be graded (and that's extremely debatable) should emphasize how many people got right.
I want to be helpful. I want to be useful. I want to make people's lives less stressful and more full of joy. I want to help people feel less alone in their writing practice, but also in their broader lives. Shoot, I want to do all of those things for myself as well, because they're hard, worthwhile goals, and because trying to help others while drawing from an empty well isn't a healthy game plan!
We're important. We're loved. We are writers.
With care and gratitude,
About Gateless Writing
I'll have my own Gateless origin story here soon, but until then, please enjoy this amazing photo of the first salon I ever taught, taken by the marvelous Melissa Holtz, featuring the Connecticut seaside (What did I tell you about how fun and writing could be a true and beautiful party?), and supported in my teaching by two magnificent wordsmiths, the marvelous Caroline Webster and the ray of sunlight who is Ivonne Senn.
Also, feel free to check out Suzanne Kingsbury's description of Gateless Writing. She is an award-winning author, and helps others bring their writing and creativity dreams to fruition, whether that's in the form of a book deal or a major shift in life trajectory! She came up with the Gateless methodology as she worked through her own struggles with loneliness and writer's block, and has been sharing it with others ever since!
Thanks, as ever, for your interest, and if you have urgent curiosities, please feel free to contact me directly, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! <3
With love and gratitude,