I have found, as I am sure many others have, that when you are going the non-gaming side of the hobby you find you fall into a rut. You do some painting, it looks good and so you keep doing the same level all the time. But, something I realise is that you need to keep moving, 'keep on walking' as it were in this side of the hobby. The more things you try the better you become and the greater the work you produce.
I personally have found myself to be in a rut many times, never daring to try other things. I have recently decided that it is not enough for me. I want to be a better painter, and the only way to improve it to try new things. And I have. The freehand and blending on my recent Ultramarine. Not amazing work, admittedly (the freehand especially) but you do find that when you try something and look at the results you see what went wrong and how you could improve upon it next time.
You must never be afraid of trying new things. For instance, if you shade using the GW washes, why not try to shade via layering instead or even make your own wash? There are a number of things in this side of the hobby that take some time for you to figure out how they can work for you - or even just how they work. Thus, you must never be afraid to try. If it all goes horribly wrong, what do you do? Strip it and try again, of course.
So, I will say to you now. Keep on walking.