The number one question I get, "what's the best thing I can do to improve my photography?". The immediate answer is take more and more pictures. Sounds simple but it is so true. You can not spend your way to better photography on gear, software, or tutorials. All of these elements play a role but pale in comparison to the good old hard work of snapping the shutter. I know, I have said this many times before, but I fall prey to not shooting enough on occasion. I think of shooting like exercise, needs to be done every day and worked into your schedule. Like exercise, doesn't have to be a full on production, shooting a few images at lunch, grabbing a couple of images while walking the dog or even photographing something in the kitchen. Any of these activities make you exercise your photographic eye, help you with camera knowledge, and make you stop, pause and think photography. The key ingredient being the exercise of your photographic eye and learning to use your camera as a second hand. Both take lots of practice.
The footnote to all of this is the axiom, "always carry a camera". If you always have a camera with you, grabbing a few shots, looking for something special, becomes second nature. This instinct is what you are trying hone. The ability to see something special, a person, a design, an event, where most would simply pass by. Part of this gift may be natural but a small part. You have to be an observer to "see", and powers of observation require work. The difference between great photographers, good photographers and .....well PWC's, is the all elusive gift of the eye. A gift that can be developed with exercise, but like muscle weakens with idleness. Learned shooting skills will leave you if they are only exercised on infrequent trips. Now, I'm not trying to discourage the photographer who uses his passion to escape the pressure of everyday activities but does so infrequently. I did the same for quite a few years, escaping into my photography whenever I could even though it was sporadic. In hindsight, I should have carried a camera with me all the time although the cost of film may have limited my random shooting.
Do these comments mean, you don't need to learn photoshop, use the right camera? Of course not, but learning to see the image in your mind's eye before you take out or pick up your camera is the holy grail of photography. It only takes effort, costs nothing but time, and pays dividends on a scale that money can't buy.