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  • Writer's pictureallieyohn

No gatekeeping

A phrase I find myself using more and more in the writing community is "no gatekeeping."

I'll admit, the first time I heard someone use it was in a TikTok video about a certain shade and type of lipstick. (I don't wear makeup every day but I still follow an unhealthy number of beauty influences. Will my makeup ever look as great as theirs? Um, no. They've got youth and beauty on their side. But I find their bravery in showing their successes and failures, or those who use makeup as true art, inspiring.)

The phrase stuck with me. If you look up gatekeeping in the dictionary you'll find Oxford defines it as "the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something."

At its core it's about denying access and creating division. Like the lines at a nightclub in every movie about a group of not-quite-cool-enough people. The bouncer lets in the crème de la crème and everyone else cannot pass. It's brutal. In this case, no gatekeeping would be like one of those chosen people beckoning to one of the not-quite-cool-enough people and convincing the bouncer to let them in.

But the most recent use takes that premise a step further. Now gatekeeping doesn't just stand for allowing access but in destroying the idea of needing access altogether. It's letting the masses stream past the hapless bouncer and party together to their heart's content.

When I learn something new about writing I share it freely. Whether it's a presentation I created about using research to plot and write your novel (PowerPoint "Research Presentation" linked below), a new plotting method (bookending saves my life during NaNo), or a new anthology call (always sent to my friends who write in that genre), I always offer to share.

What is a writing community if we can't all support and teach one another? A community none of us should want any part of.

So no gatekeeping, only helping.

Research presentation
Download PPTX • 3.52MB

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Oct 06, 2023
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Agreed! One of the ones I still, if only for a split second, catch myself on is seeing some impossibly young person wearing a <insert literally any band name> T-Shirt. They may love the band. They may like one song. They may just like the album/logo design. It might have been a gift. Who cares? I have literally no reason to say anything but, "Cool shirt" and move my old man ass along. :)

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