When I teach classes I regularly hand out assignments for people to step through different settings systematically to see what the camera does. I will tell them to take a series of photos at each full stop ISO setting to see where the noise starts and at what level it is unacceptable for them. Take time to learn how to manually focus. Try to focus on say a painting on the wall and then on a solid color wall.
I was at a wonderful event recently that I got to play around a lot with different techniques to come up with more artistic images. I was using my speed light on camera. I was also using very slow shutter speed. It took some time to get the timing right of when to take the photo, but what I was able to get was a sort of ghosting effect on the person as they moved. I was also then able to take the photos into Photoshop and Perfect Effects 8 and get the images to really pop with a cool artistic look. I had a lot of fun during the night. I had a lot of photos that just did not work right. But that is one of the beauties of digital, there is no cost for taking a lot of photos. I can just delete the ones that did not work. The ultimate goal is to get that one shot that will just blow you away of course. And with practice it will take fewer and fewer shots to get one or two awesome ones.
I have had the chance to work on a number of shoots now where we set stages. We were purposeful about building images. Many of these I worked with other talented people to create the images. It is so wonderful to work in collaboration with like minded artistic types. This steampunk inspired image is an example of building a full image. Unlike getting art images at an event that not scripted, everything in this image is there for a reason. The placement of the people is purposeful. The outfits and the makeup and hair were designed for the right look. It is very similar to what a painter does when they paint a scene. Often Norman Rockwell would set up scenes and photograph them and then use that photograph as inspiration for the final painting or drawing that he would do.
Now this might not be your favorite style. However, I would recommend that you do something like this at least once in a while. It is similar to how I will go out and do some nature and landscape photography at times to experience something different. It gives me a different outlook on my art, and gets me to stretch my skills.