Lots of good advice in this thread. Playing fast and with warmth is the height of guitar playing, and so difficult. A lot of self-taught players such as myself are at a disadvantage because we lack the training given at the very start, and spent most of our time strumming chords to accompany our voices. Too much time devoted to learning songs and not learning the instrument set me back a bit. " Picking", was to me, something bluegrass players did. What a mistake.
If I were just starting today, I would find a good teacher and do what he told me to do.