Through a mini youtube binge this evening, I ran across this presentation by Andrew Price: 7 Habits of Effective Artists. I'm not otherwise familiar with Price, but I gleened from the video that he's a 3d artist that dedicated himself to learn digital painting in a short period of time and likes to draw skinny girls with big boobs in a totally not creepo way (re: point #7: Create What you Love).
A thing that made my ears perk while I casually listened to the video was point #4: Conscious Learning. This resonates with me in general and is one of the tid bits of wisdom I try to bestow. Just today, I was coaching one of my junior developers on their personal growth. They're generally sports minded so I busted out a line that my dad used to tell me ala Vince Lombardi, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." More specifically, I was trying to instill in them that, especially early in your career, everything you write is a new challenge and an opportunity to learn. Likewise, rarely is anything you make perfection the first time around. As such, if you don't take the time to consciously think about what you would improve while you are doing it, the next iteration will likely not be much better - only by stepping back and reflecting on the work will you really learn and improve. Similarly, without feedback (#6 on the list), most developers with less experience believe the thing they made is indeed perfect and thus are less likely to think there is area for improvement. This is a growth sink.
In general, all these items on the list apply to growing as a software engineer as well as an artist.
Personally, on the artistic side, I should really heed these points as well. I've been floundering in my daily doodle book this year. It does seem like when I dedicate myself to drawing in it daily (#1) I am going for volume (#2) but less concisious of what I am doing and just trying to get "reps" in or fill a page. Be in the moment. Focus on the work. Grow. Shoot for an exhibition (solo or with Dim) next year.