I've been visiting my family these past couple weeks, and one of the special joys I've had this trip is time spent doing yoga with my mom. We each have different favorite poses, different physical issues, and different yoga styles. She loves to spend time in legs up the wall, and I love working on my balancing poses.
When we practice together, we are sharing space, time and company, but we aren't necessarily interacting. She does her thing and I do mine. This is parallel play as I most enjoy it.
Parallel play (doing different things in the same space) can be a particular treat for those of us who want some kind of accountability and social time without added responsibility.
My dear friend Rob and I did this with our writing when I was at a previous job. We met at a coffee shop once a week, someone would treat the other person to breakfast, and we'd each work on our own writing for the next 3-4 hours. I think that for teachers especially, it's nice to have a writing group that's not about having yet more of other people's writing to read. It's about companionship, making the process pleasurable.
In our writing lives, we have lots of relationships that can feel a little intimidating: editors, anonymous readers, mentors, etc. Why not playmate?
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