#1: feel the urge if there is one and take action
Once upon a time - for me photography was still fiddling with film rolls and making those photo books of the traveling. Around 2005 I felt the urge to make better photo's. I found it a pity that my pictures were okay but not special or appealing enough to my taste. So my first piece of advice is to find someone or something to do something with that urge. I started out with a local photography course of about 10 lessons. And last year I felt that my street photography needed a little knowledge boost so I joined a half day workshop with Fokko Muller which did the trick.
#2: find more people who do the same as you want to do
The second big step I took was years later: joining a local photo club. Making better photo's is not so much fun to me if other people cannot see them (yes - I want some appreciation - don't we all?) so I looked for a group of people doing more or less the same thing. I found a small local club in my home town. It still took me a couple of years to find my own way of doing but the critics, ideas and inspiration from other club members gave me input to do so.
#3: visit exhibitions, read books and dive into the www
I like reading and finding loads of info about what I am doing. Sometimes that clutters my brains so noting is happening any more. And it also gets those brain juices going. Sometimes just looking at other peoples work can get me in a creative mood. Sometimes it makes me even more aware of the road I still have to go.
#4: shoot-shoot-shoot what you like
I found the hardest part to make more photo's and to keep on shooting, knowing that practice makes perfect. In 2015 I found myself again on that turning point: is photography something I want to invest in? And how? Then I found the podcast of Valerie Jardin which made me aware that street photography was something I always did (a little bit). So I started shooting on the streets as a purpose. And to increase my amount of photo's taken - I found this 52 week challenge from Dogwood. Challenges and ongoing projects made sure that the number of photo's I took in one year exceeds the total amount of the last couple of years altogether. I dit that with the same combo: a mirrorless camera and one fixed lens.
#5: get rid of excuses to 'do your thing'
By shooting more and more I discovered slowly the preferences I have when shooting. I like a low vantage point. And by using that more often my photo's got better IMO and I got more compliments. So my excuses that I was only 'taking some shots' was not valid enough any more. The same excuse that I had to know the technique inside out applied no more. How much energy can you put into knowing what focal point, shutter times and crop factor is? Make sure the energy is spent into making more photo's, pick the one's you like and do more of the same. Do your thing.
My inspirational sources: