I once heard a former player for the legendary University of Oklahoma football coach, Barry Switzer ask his coach why they had to run these plays a thousand times in practise. Barry's answer was classic..."...because 999 is not enough". His point was to make the execution of the plays instinctive and that comes with repetition. The same applies to learning how to employ techniques that capture character. The more practise you get, the more instinctive it becomes, and eventually you begin to see or visualize the end result before you ever snap an image. Practise not only involves the mechanics, it involves the mental aspects as well. Learning to see photographically and thus learning how to capture character only comes with a great deal of perseverance.
Becoming instinctive is the key. If you have to think about what you are doing all the time, your results will often reflect the indecision you are encountering. Of course at first you do have to think about it, but go about it in a creative way by asking yourself, 'I wonder...or What if...or I want to see what this does.' Sometimes what you experiment with may work in one situation but not in another. Regardless if it works or not, you will have learned something in the process.
This applies to every form of photography. Think conceptually about finding character in the moment and move away from simply photographing things. Use this wonderful element called Light to your advantage and apply it in as many ways as you can imagine for imagination is what will elevate the character of your photography to a newer, higher plain of accomplishment.