But going around pushing the button on your DSLR isn't practice, it's wasting time. You need engaging practice. And, sometimes, in some cases -- maybe like Rob C's -- you may have to decide to give it up. Just because you are a competent professional photographer is no reason to keep doing it, if you don't enjoy it or think it has little value.
I'm a professional novelist, but for twenty-five years or so, I was a professional journalist at The Miami Herald and at the St. Paul papers. As a reporter, I'd write every day; during a few years as an editor, I'd edit every day. When I was reporting, editors had no problem telling me when they didn't like something, either for the actual content or lack of it, or the way I expressed it. As an editor, I had no trouble telling reporters what I thought -- on a daily newspaper, there's just no time to fool around. I didn't know it, but what I was getting over all those years was a lot of practice in novel writing, which includes intense self-editing. I still had to learn some specific aspects of the novel-writing business, but the practice and daily life experience was just what I needed. In fact, it was absolutely critical. If you look at a lot of my peers in the thriller-wring business, you find that almost all of them have similar backgrounds.
I think perhaps if one wished to become a photographer/artist, a few years (but not too many) spent as a pro photographer would be pretty useful. "Creative" workshops are not so useful, I think, for a lot of reasons, but technical workshops are, if you need them. I took a technical workshop on lighting at Santa Fe Workshops and learned more in a week than I ever needed, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. But other than the occasional workshop, practice is the most critical thing -- but engaging practice, the kind that includes looking at your own work, and thinking seriously about it. You could go out and take a picture of a fire hydrant and learn something from it...or not. Taking a thousand shots and then desperately searching for a good one won't teach you much. Taking ten carefully considered shots, and then contemplating each of the prints could teach you quite a lot.
It might even teach you that you're not interested in doing that, which is a great thing to learn, because you can move on to something else.
Edit: I just read over the other posts again, and think it's important to stress what Michael said in his last one. You do have to read and study. As a novelist, I picked out a book by one of my favorite writers, and tore it to pieces, and then tried to rewrite it, to understand how he'd done what he'd done, and why he'd done it. What I did was in no way publishable, but it was an invaluable experience: I began to see how pieces of the puzzle fit together, and to appreciate such things as rhythm. But if you really study the people you most admire, and think of how you can riff off them, you'll eventually find your own signature and will expand beyond what your models have done. The other thing is motivation. To become a serious artist, you really do have to be somewhat obsessed. Persistence is critical. If you're happy taking pictures of your family, or whatever, casually, that's just fine. But to become a serious, dedicated photographer, I think being a little nuts won't hurt. I don't particularly like saying this, because it sounds sycophantic, and Michael has enough people kissing his ass, but over all the years some of us have been on these forums, and all the posts we have done, we've seen at the top of the forum photo after photo by Michael, many of them extremely good. So he writes for the forum and does camera reviews and travels to Mexico, but every few days there's another pretty good photo up. Who else who is regularly on this forum does that?