I showed a few pieces to Sterling Hundley, a great teacher at VCU and he advised me to look for shapes and later on look for shapes within those shapes. I stopped seeing arms and heads and instead saw groups of shapes. Then everything became easier.
Another big change this semester was when I learned to slow down when drawing. This was in large part due to Albert Epshteyn's drawing class I took in Art Foundation. At a minimum we spent 6 hours on one drawing of the figure. While this did not take quite that long, I did slow down and spend more time fixing errors. Before I had only spent a few minutes on the sketch before eagerly picking up brush and ink.Slowing down gave me the time to focus on precise measurements, and I feel I am now getting a better likeness in the people I draw.
With each of these pieces I do I celebrate a tiny victory but also observe that I have so much more to learn. This is really only the beginning. But the smallest success can provide massive amounts of fuel to keep going.