In my last post, I mentioned that I've had a hard time writing these last few weeks. I used to scoff at the term "writer's block" because it's kind of a pretentious self-important concept. Can't use a "block" as an excuse in many other professions, can you? There's no such thing as "editorial assistant's block" or "teacher's block" or even "ballerina's block". Actually, ballerina's block would probably be rampant if dancers ceased being told what to do. (We tend to like being told what to do, at least in the ballet world.)
Often times, our seeming inability to write has more to do with distraction or lack of discipline than anything. Whenever I have a deadline approaching or a short story assignment due for school my creative juices flow incredibly well. It's only during my down-time, when I should be working on that project or proposal that the well of ideas dries up, and I can't remember any non "to be" verbs.
These days I'm exercising a good amount of discipline, forcing myself to write even when it's lacking in quality and innovation. When I go back to revise I get completely discouraged and want to write even less and it's one messy spin cycle in the smelly laundromat of my brain. (See? There's one example of the kind of metaphors I'm creating lately.)
Do you think writer's block is a real psychological barrier or am I just making up excuses to make myself feel better? How do you overcome these mental roadblocks with no tangible incentive in the form of a deadline or a paycheck?