I agree with Jubba… there is no set path, though typically we learn things like using the tools first, then we learn how to make buttons and movie clips… then we learn how to make buttons control movie clips… etc.
As a side line I’ll say this… my greatest moments of clarity in creation did not come from pounding my head on the keyboard but from doing exactly what you did. There were many days when I just had to put Flash down, step away and play Quake for a couple hours. Sleep too helps. There are many a night when I would work for hours trying to solve something with no luck. I’d then go to sleep, and wake with the answer.
Especially with action script… the greatest moments of creation come from the world itself, not from your computer.
Take a walk in a natural place.
A lot of Flash is about the smoothness and randomness of motion. There is no greater source for these things than the natural world itself. Take a walk, preferably with a girl and a dog. Smell the outdoors… listen to the sound of wind in the trees… watch leaves fall, or snowflakes. Set up a bird feeder near your house or window, and watch what different creatures come to eat… birds have been a source of divine inspiration for man for thousands of years.
These are the secrets to my life.
(and even if you are not inspired after a good walk, at the very least you’ve gotten some much needed exercise.