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Procrastinator finds solace via mega-achiever

It’s getting pathetic. I’m talking about my binge of procrastination. Maybe you can relate? Things you are putting off that really need to get done?

There are the taxes that will soon be due, a stack of papers on my desk that should be filed instead of covering every square inch many layers over. The book proposal a potential new publisher is waiting for? That’s on my to-do list, too.

Somehow, maybe an immense talent, I find ways to put all of it off. Some of my alternate activities are moderately acceptable, like surfing the net for uplifting stories to post daily on Others might as well be like opening up a bag of potato chips. “Maybe I’ll check out Facebook one more time to see what’s going on with friends and family around country,” I distract myself.

Just when I’m about to mercilessly beat myself up over all this putting off I come across Katherine Howe. She’s a 30-something accessibly brilliant author I met in New York City.

Katherine makes me feel good about procrastination. See, a funny thing happened to her on her way to getting her Ph.D. in history.

“It’s true,” she told me. “There I was working on my thesis on history and New England Studies when I started working on a novel, which of course is the only rationale thing to do at that time.”

Easy to justify that putting off when that novel turns into a New York Times best-seller, “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.”

“This is really discouraging,” I told her. “When I was in college, putting off my schoolwork meant ordering pizza at midnight and downing a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.”

Rather than get to that Ph.D. thesis after her first book, she followed with a new work of historical fiction, “The House of Velvet and Glass.” “It’s a little bit like ‘Downton Abbey.’ Only in Boston and a little bit darker,” she told me.

I’m happy to share the note I got from my new writer friend this week. “Phd to be conferred this summer,” she shared. And on top of that, “Third novel done to be published in the Spring.”

I’m going to take Katherine’s progress as a sign, a sign that everything gets done in its own time.

The taxes will get filed. The desk cleaned up. The book proposal turned in. Meanwhile, anyone have the phone number for a good pizza delivery place?

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