Photography, as many if not all disciplines, has a variable learning curve. How steep it could be depends on the will to learn you posses, how you persevere in your attempts to improve yourself, in paying attention on developing your own personal style, and in my personal opinion the most important factor, which is how open you are to be critiqued. The world today is quite a very different from what I remember when I was a kid: there was not internet (or not nearly as developed as today), not even cell phones and information had to be looked up and searched for in books and libraries, therefore negating the dominant need for the immediate satisfaction for a given (in this case) knowledge request, all this impacting in a marked decrease of patience when learning. Nowadays, we are driven by the necessity of getting results almost instantaneously, being this a detriment in our learning skills. Photography is one thing that certainly requires time, dedication and most importantly, passion. You will not see instant results in one week, and not even in months time if you desire to improve your talent.
But there is an advantage of being able to get information almost instantly: internet can be a source of information that can be mined with almost instant results. To take full benefit of this, we need to refine the raw material that we obtain from that mining process. Basic technical data and techniques are widely available to everybody who is in reach of a browser and able to type www.google.com, giving us the chance to obtain knowledge almost for negligible cost. But internet is not everything, books are still irreplaceable as they sometimes contain information not present in the net (not to talk about how different is to observe a photograph in paper rather in your screen). Reading material that covers photographers personal experience are unique and offer you the point of view of recognized artists, giving you an insight of their thoughts and their feelings while on assignment (50 Portraits by Gregory Heisler comes to my mind).
Patience for results is paramount as well. We have to be certain that photography will evolve as we learn and grow up, as it most probably will be influenced by our personal experiences and express our feelings at a given time and as any art it will be an unconscious manifestation of our own selves. But techniques should be learned and mastered in order to maximize the impact that our work has, and skills are certainly not acquired over night. Practice makes perfection, they said, and that couldn't be closer to the truth: trial and error and continuous self-assesment should be a must, as well as getting the chance of having a mentor, if possible.
Being honest with ourselves is something that in my humble opinion is a necessity as well as having honest critiques from third parties; it is completely understandable as for any art that comes partly from our subconscious, is closely related to our ego and therefore we could become vulnerable and get hurt. But don't take it personal as long is a constructive critique. Be open to your own self critiques and critiques given by third parties; this is the cornerstone of evolution, the anti-thesis for our thesis that gives place to a synthesis that marks our improvement not only as photographers and artist, but as human beings as well.