Our history is a bit long
-- but we have been around for a long time.
It was because of the abundance of writing talent in the area and the magnitude of novice writers seeking help and encouragement, that Write-On, Hoosiers Inc. was founded in 1989 by Sharon Palmeri.
Palmeri, who holds a B.Sc. Degree in Education, English/journalism, has had a diverse background as freelance writer and poet, newspaper correspondent and licensed educator.
- The seed for Write-on, Hoosiers was planted while Palmeri was working as an instructor of Creative Writing and Writing for Magazines and Newspapers for Purdue University Calumet's Continuing Education Program, and for the Merrillville Adult Education program.
- Palmeri found that several of her students expressed a desire to continue to polish their work and continue writing long after the completion of the class-- thus creating the ten founding members of Write-on, Hoosiers
- After one year of bi- weekly meetings at area libraries at which members wrote, read, critiqued, and honed their pieces of writing, Palmeri realized that the work of the (then fifteen) W.O.H. members was too good to have such a small audience.
- Planning began and laid the groundwork was laid out for an annual literary magazine to begin the following year.
- The premiere issue of Hoosier Horizon literary magazine was published, primarily from club member donations.
- Complimentary copies were distributed to libraries, universities, and businesses.
- W.O.H.'s membership had more than doubled.
- Officers were voted in and bylaws were established for the 34 members. The organization gained corporate status.
- In addition, W.O.H. began reaching out to writers in surrounding communities. Conferences and workshops were held at area libraries and were open to the public. National and internationally published writers were invited to the area to share their experiences and expertise on all genres of the writing and publishing trade.
- The first Hoosier Horizon Writing Contest was also started in 1992. The contest (open only to adult nonmembers) encouraged writers to submit entries in four areas: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's stories. Winners were honored at an award's night banquet and published in Hoosier Horizon magazine.
- A Hoosier Horizon Photography Contest was also launched in '92, encouraging novice photographers to submit photographs with a northwest Indiana theme. The winning photo was displayed on the magazine cover. Runners up were published in a "runners up" section.
- This year brought even more challenges. A "W.O.H. Journal Chapter" was started in Munster. Ten members met once a month for a year and shared journal writing techniques and the writing of personal experience essays.
- In addition, W.O.H. also became active in a national program for the blind. They read their stories and poems on tape to add to the Lake County Library's "Audio Books for the Blind."
- In the spring of 1993 the Hoosier Horizon Children's Contest was piloted. Several members took time off work to go into Porter Lakes Elementary School to talk about poetry with pupils in kindergarten through 6th grade and to promote the contest. In December the premiere issue of Hoosier Horizon Children's Magazine was unveiled, containing the poems of all winners.
- Simultaneously, the original Hoosier Horizon magazine was offered for sale in area bookstores and markets to help to subsidize the children's magazine.
- W.O.H. seemed to be branching out in all directions and constantly in need of funding. It had grown to 45. Donations kept coming in.
- Members started a yearly fund to be allocated for small monetary prizes to be given (in addition to plaques and certificates) to contest winners at the awards banquet.
- W.O.H. achieved tax-exempt status from the federal government and the State of Indiana (made retro. to 1992).
- The children's contest reached out to 16 schools in Lake and Porter Counties. Winners not only were published in the magazine but also appeared in the Post Tribune, the Times newspapers, and on WYIN Channel 56 Television.
- In the spring of 1994 W.O.H also hosted a mini conference to help promote the Muncie-based Midwest Writers’ Conference that July. In the fall of the year, they sponsored a series of three workshops, Alice Friman on Poetry, David Kaplan on Fiction.
- In addition, W.O.H again forged ahead to the Munster, Griffith, Highland, and Schererville areas when a new Westlake chapter was started. Membership soared to a total of sixty members between all chapters.
- Mr. Quick Print donated a used photocopier to the organization to help defray copier costs.
- Our Hoosier Horizon Children's Contest had mushroomed to 28 schools in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. The Children's Award Night had filled all the Lake County Reference Library's meeting rooms with nearly 200 children, parents and teachers. W.O.H. had reached out to young adults (12-18 yr.) as well as adults in its other Hoosier Horizon contest. Entries for young adults were judged and awarded separate from adults in areas of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
- In the spring of 1995 they held two workshops, Kathleen Zumuda taught Storytelling, and Michael Kulycky, and Chicago professor, shared tips on self editing.
- Also, due to the success of the 1994 Midwest Writer’s Mini Conference, they once again hosted the event, with an amazing attendance of 45 people.
- Write-On, Hoosiers had come a long way since the 40- page pilot Hoosier Horizon manuscript was sent to the printer "camera ready" in 1991. They published two magazines, the adult/young adult magazine that increased to 74 pages, and a children's magazine, which had nearly doubled in size. Magazine contest winners came from all over Indiana to attend the awards night banquet.
- Write-on, Hoosiers had grown so fast that the members who volunteered their time had trouble keeping up with the pace, and found little time to write on their own.
- Many of the organization’s burned-out members took a break from helping others. A small critique group was formed, separate from W.O.H., and members took the time once again to write for themselves.
- Sharon Palmeri continued with Write-on, Hoosier’s and scaled it down temporarily to focus on children.
- Hoosier Horizon Children's Contest broke their prior record, and received entries from 34 schools in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties. The Children's Award Night once again filled all the Lake County Reference Library's meeting rooms...this time beyond full capacity.
THE MILLENNIUM (2000)
- This was a year of strategic planning for the organization. Sharon Palmeri started research on constructing a Write-on, Hoosiers website.
- Once again the Hoosier Horizon Children’s Contest was held, and once again exceeded expectations. Word had spread among the schools, resulting in nearly 1200 entries from over 40 schools and spanned four (Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Starke) counties.
- A Millennium edition of Hoosier Horizon Children's Magazine was published in late fall.
- A new Write-on, Hoosiers critique group for adults was started in January at the Merrillville library -- with a later location at Beaners Coffee Shop on Broadway in Merrillville.
- There was a continued discussion about a web site that could take e-mail submissions for an on-line magazine for men, women, young adults, and teenagers. No concrete plans were finalized.
- Write-On, Hoosiers, Inc. became an affiliate of the National Writers Association (N.W.A.) in September.
- Our local membership continued to grow; it more than doubled that of last year. Meetings were held at Beaners Coffee Shop, then moved to Barnes and Noble on Route 30 in Merrillville.
- Write-on, Hoosiers continued their membership growth at their meetings at Barnes and Noble W.O.H. became an affiliate of The Association of Publishers of Special Sales (APSS.) Membership rose to 33 members with several members publishing books.
- By 2004 more than half of our group was working on writing novels and memoirs. Several members had already published, and successfully sold their books. Others members published articles in magazines and in anthologies.
- Discussion began on having a writers’ mini conference in 2005.
- W.O.H. had their own Sunday column in the Post Tribune called “The Writer’s Palette” from January till June.
- In June WOH sponsored a half day mini conference called “The Write Passage” where several of their published members discussed various writing genres and publishing. William Buckley, an IUN professor gave the keynote address. There were table areas where writers could promote and sell their books.
- In September WOH was given the opportunity to have their meetings held at the new Purdue Academic Learning Center in Merrillville. This provided a central place for members from the east, west, north and south to meet. The meeting rooms were quiet, and large enough to accommodate their growing membership.
- W.O.H. members continued with their writing projects. Several members worked on longer works such as fiction novels.
- W.O.H. members continued meet at the Purdue Learning Center to work on their works and promote their published works.
- Sharon Palmeri worked on the formation of a new writers’ organization (later to be named The Indiana Writers’ Consortium) that would encompass seven counties in Northwest Indiana.
- W.O.H. introduced the world to Write-on, Hoosiers by creating both a web site: http://www.writeonhoosiers.org/ and blog site: http://writeonhoosiers.blogspot.com/.
- A 20th anniversary celebration, named “A Tribute to Writers” was planned for December 3rd at the Star Café at the Radisson in Merrillville. Over 70 people attended, including founding and past W.O.H. members as well as many of Palmeri’s past writing students.
- W.O.H. and the newly founded Indiana Writers' Consortium (I.W.C.) became mutual affiliates.
- Write-on Hoosiers continued to garner new members. Membership climbed to 27.
- Volume 7 of Hoosier Horizon Magazine was published and unveiled at their annual banquet.
- Because many of W.O.H.’s members belong to other writers’ organizations, they invited members of those groups to annual holiday banquet.
- As a result of the closure of Borders book store, W.O.H once again were forced to look for a new home. One of their members approached her employer about the possibility of using the banquet room at Chapel Lawn Funeral Home. Granted, it was an odd place to meet, but as writers they did not mind. In fact, one member said, "It is a place where many plots dwell."
- Despite the fear that the new meeting place would scare potential members away, instead they actually added more new members, bringing the group to a membership of 35.
- Since they had access to the banquet facilities they served coffee and cookies at the meetings
- W.O.H. hosted a photo contest for Hoosier Horizon Magazine, Volume 8.
- Their banquet, once again was held at The Lakes of the Four Seasons Country Club, was another success. The funeral home donated a Kindle and gift certificate to a restaurant as prizes for their banquet.
- Write-on, Hoosiers membership stayed a steady 35 in 2012 with a record number of members who published books. This year their also had a little publicity as a NW Indiana Times correspondent wrote an article about our group.
- We also added a “Members Section” and a “Bookstore” to their W.O.H. Blog. One of their long-time members, Gail Galvan, conducted a six-part interview with Sharon Palmeri chronicling W.O.H. and its rich history.
- For the first time in more than 10 years W.O.H. was discussing the possibility of starting a new chapter. Membership had gotten so large that the meetings were lasting over three hours, and many people had work the next day. Instead their opted for another solution. Those who did not read one week would be first to read at the following meeting.
- Members published more books. The Write-on, Hoosiers website was completely revamped and new group photos added. Hoosier Horizon Volume 10 was being prepared for the November production.
- This was a landmark year for Write-on, Hoosiers as they neared the dawn of their 25th anniversary. Their banquet, “The Write Road,” was held in December. Write on, Hoosiers was 25 years old in January of 2014.
- Guest Speaker Kate Collins gave the keynote address at the banquet.
- There were displays of past Hoosier Horizon magazines, group photos, newspaper clippings, etc. We had a book sale table for authors to sell their books. Sharon Palmeri (who also was celebrating 25 years teaching writing classes) also had a display of her past students’ magazines. The 25th anniversary edition of Hoosier Horizon magazine was unveiled at the banquet.
- The Write-on, Hoosiers board decided not to publish a magazine this year, and instead have the 32 members concentrate more on their writing projects. The other reason was because their members were invited to submit stories and or poems to Valparaiso’s “Blank Slate Writers” publication, an affiliate of Write-on, Hoosiers.
- The group decided that this year’s banquet should be open to not only members, but also to their family, as well as other writers’ groups, and past members. They offered a book exchange for people who wanted to participate.
- We chose entertainment that was family orientated, rather than key note speeches by writers. Wolffgang, the A Capella group from Hobart High school preformed various songs. Harley Hehr, a member of the “Four Season’s Writers Group”, as well as a professional singer/comedian, entertained as well.
- W.O.H.’s membership continued to expand, reaching 36 members.
- In June, we had Jerry Davich, an investigative writer and columnist for the Post Tribune and Chicago Tribune spoke to our group about his writing background.
- Since the past year’s banquet was so successful, Write-on, Hoosiers decided to keep the same format. W.O.H. always give away many gifts at their parties. No one went away empty handed, and several many left with two or three gifts.
- This year Write-on Hoosier’s added half-hour mini workshop/lectures on different aspects of writing. Some of the topics included dialogue, characterization, plot and poetry. Sharon Palmeri, Bev Stanislawski, and Adam Sedia were speakers for these sessions. This was so successful that it will be repeated in 2017.
- Under the guidance of Gail Galvan, W.O.H.’s most published author, W.O.H. compiled a book of their members’ literary works. The book, called Horizon Spectrum, was edited, laid out, and designed by Gail, Bev, and Sharon Palmeri. The cover photo was donated by Karen Goad, and designed by Sharon. The book was unveiled at our banquet, and is for sale by members or available on Amazon.
THE PAST In the past the media had been very supportive to the organization. W.O.H. had many interviews on radio, TV, and in local newspapers at which time the organization's goals were discussed.
THE FUTURE We hope to plan and implement more mini-conferences, special speakers, and hope the media continues to support W.O.H. by announcing their events and accomplishments
DONATIONS from the many dedicated members of Write-On, Hoosiers, Inc. and our outside supporters have been appreciated throughout the years. W.O.H. has indeed developed a heartbeat of its own that is growing stronger each year.