I was recently emailed by a beginning developer asking how I went from just repeating steps in a tutorial to actually building something. I'm not an advanced developer by any means, but this is what worked for me and it might work for you too! What follows is a copy/paste of my reply.
I recommend coming up with a small project to work on. That will give you some focus and might lead you down some paths that you wouldn't necessarily take with a step-by-step tutorial. I started with a simple site for cataloging video games. Maybe you can come up with something that's just beyond what you think you're capable of. That way, you're not just repeating a bunch of steps.
Don't be afraid to copy and paste code. It's a big part of the learning process. Just be sure you understand what the code is doing as you're copying and pasting.
The main thing that's helped me improve is adding new features to simple projects I started -- things like a login system, image uploads, pulling data from an API like Twitter, Amazon or Youtube, etc. Just tackle things one step at a time and you should be able to add any new feature you can think of. You'll be forced to work with different kinds of concepts & objects that you might not use often (hashes, callbacks, etc.).
For Rails, Railscasts.com is a great resource. If you have a feature idea, chances are there's a Railscast video to get you started.
I love Michael Hartl's Ruby on Rails Tutorial. If you haven't worked through that yet, definitely give it a try. It will get you more comfortable with tools like git and services like Heroku and github.
Also look into meet-up groups in your area on meetup.com. I found a Ruby group in Los Angeles that way. Just showing up each week was a huge help. I learned much faster by being surrounded by coders. I also went on to help other beginners understand basic concepts. Teaching others really reinforces the basics for you.
I also recently wrote a post listing the tools and books that helped me go from 0 to part-time developer. You might find some insight there, too.
Ruby on Rails and iOS Developer