A little long winded but here it is from some who started arting late.
1) Be emotionally prepared for criticism and use that as a basis to make yourself better. I you can't then turn off comments until you are in a better frame of mind. Some folks aren't very polished in their approach and don't mean to upset when intending to impart wisdom, but if the person is all "you're work sucks" without telling you why it sucks and what you can do to make it less suck then F' them they're a dick ignore them. Otherwise, put your emotion aside and use the info to make yourself a better artist. 99% of all comments here have been positive and feedback given on how to improve has helped a lot.
2)The other thing is practice. Remember that practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent. So try to do your best every time you draw. Don't get obsessed with speed get obsessed with being better. Speed will come with time.
3) Make sometime better in every piece. Before starting every drawing identify one thing that you want to do better, like eyes or overall composition... and make a point to work hard on making it a little better than your last. This requires you to push your comfort zone a little as well.
4) Art what you want to art. Doing art should make you happy. Don't worry what others want to see follow your own inspiration. Find your own style.
5) Using references is OK. Landscape painters don't just sit in the basement churning out paintings they go out and look or take their stuff out to the field and paint. Mona Lisa was sitting in front of Picasso. When you are ready to stop, don't go cold turkey just start altering your work from what the reference is. You still may have to come back to a reference from time to time when some part of a drawing isn't working like sometimes I need to go look at eyes of lips for a bit when that part of a piece isn't working out.
6) Don't worry about style unless you want a job that requires you to do everything in a certain style. You will realize style just showed up day when some complements you on your art style. Until then just art.
7) When you fav something, leave a comment telling why you fav'ed it. This will help you recognize what you like as well as let them know what caught your eye. It makes both of you better artists. Plus it keeps ideas fresh in your mind.
8) When you have an idea for a piece, but it is beyond your current skill, write it down in a journal. Later when you are having a lack of ideas look through those and decide if you can do one of them.
9) Experiment. Experiment. Experiment. Try something new once in awhile just for the sake of doing it, having a little fun, and getting outside of your comfort zone so you don't get stuck in a rut.
Above all no matter how un-gifted you think you are. You can do better than you think if you just stick with it.
Pick something to focus on learning when you begin. There are sooooo many different genres and styles out there. I know for myself how easy it is to feel dragged around mentally from one to another.But that way, it's harder to learn and takes longer to absorb all that's necessary to understand each form. It has to do with self-control I suppose. I'm still working on that for myself
I have to say, all these tips are great! I'm going to read through all of them and write them down. Someone should put them in a journal or something. I bet ChewedKandi already had that in mind. Am I right? eh? eh?