There are times I am able to observe other photographers in-the-field work flow. I watch what they do, listen to them explain what they are thinking, and I see the fruits of their work. From these observations and applying what I've learned to my own attempts, I've come to understand that taking the leap from being a good photographer to one who is truly creative is often a matter of continuing to think beyond the ordinary, to push the thought process to another level, to take each new image challenge a greater distance. Think of it like this; One does not become an expert at playing the piano except by pushing to play increasingly more difficult musical scores. Only by working through the new challenges does one become stronger. The same applies to photography.
Finding the right stuff as a photographer I do believe requires one to try many kinds of photography. Always doing the same thing over and over tends to reinforce old, bad habits. Trying something new forces you to rethink what you are doing both in technique and in creative thinking, and it builds upon what you already know. Then, when you do return to your comfort photographic area, your ability to look at what you do from a fresh perspective opens the door for more in depth creative thinking.
Finding a Creative Edge requires a degree of imagination. I often see (and take) technically good photographs, yet they often lackthat all important artistic element, one that is difficult to teach. In workshops I have taught I almost always emphasize the concept of looking and thinking beyond the ordinary. This alone, once mastered to the point it becomes instinctive, helps you the photographer to visualize your final product before you ever release the shutter. Sometimes we get lucky and things simply fall into place in spite of our efforts, but those with the right stuff have an uncanny ability to create with their imagination, then capture it with technical skill that lies beyond the scope of what most of us possess.