Zach, it makes perfect sense.
One suggestion would be to work on the bag-o-licks and use that to start building your own leads. don't forget that whatever you have learned form the tabs is also in your bag 0 licks once you have it memorized and can play it without reading the tab.
I usually record a very slow rhythm track and play to it over and over until I have a break worked out. The building of a lead break requires understanding how the song is built, the melody, the key, and other things. going back over the theory lessons won't hurt either.
I'd also suggest reading any threads on building breaks or inventing solos. You may get ideas from other members plus it helps get you thinking in that mode and vocabulary.
I will normally not start a new tab until I have the one I am working on completely memorized and can file it away for later reference if needed. By playing without the tab you will find that you may change certain licks in the song to fit your own playing style - this is the goal - and the reason for the bag-o-licks approach.
When you can learn to start substituting different licks when playing and create something new from mixing, matching, and inventing from what you have previously learned you are truly on your way to understanding the instrument and being able to play it.
Be patient, all this takes time. the brain sometimes doesn't learn as fast as the fingers can memorize things, but it all comes with patience and practice.
hope this helps.