You may need a different lens if the kit doesn't fit the subject matter you're most interested in shooting, but given that you're relying on Auto mode even after a year, perhaps it's more a matter of knowledge/practice [see WTD174], or possibly just that photography is not for you. There's no shame in this. The vast majority of people don't use cameras to make photographs--most use them to make snapshots and to capture memories.
The technical side of things--learning the settings, which lens to use, how to get the best out of a lens--those are merely the craft of photography and anybody can learn it with enough dedication. The art of photography is something very different. So, if what's missing from your images is imagination and creativity--that's not something linked to a lens or any cool tricks of technique or that you can necessarily learn from a book. Like any artistic endeavour, this comes from the life you live and the experiences you have and who you are composting down into the raw material your imagination chows down on to create art.
If what you're missing, however, is strong composition, sharpness, use of depth of field, more accurate focus, better post-processing--that you can learn. You may just have to adjust what you think of as the amount of effort and time (and money) you want to throw into photography as a pursuit. A really good photograph may take days of preparation, waiting for the right opportunity/weather, cash spent on equipment, hours spent on post-processing, etc. A lot of newbs (wrongly) assume that because it only takes a moment to press the shutter button that a photograph should be an instantaneously created work of art. That is not, unfortunately, how it works most of the time.
The Kit Lens
The kit lens is good at a few things, and sucks at others. Working away from its weaknesses and towards its strengths is one way to get the best out of it. You can see what others can pull out of an 18-55 kit lens by looking at, say, a kitlens challenge or Flickr's many kit lens groups. Yes, a kit lens is limiting. But not to the point where all your photos have to be butt ugly because you use one.
Weaknesses of the kit lens include its "slow" max. aperture and lack of reach. It's soft wide open at both ends. So you don't want to use it as a low-light lens on moving subjects or for subjects you can't get closer to.
The strengths of the kit lens are that it's cheap/trashable, it's stabilized, it's small and light, it goes wide on a crop body, and it's pretty sharp in the f/8-f/16 range. You can put it on a tripod for long exposures of non-moving subjects while stopped down--this is nearly textbook for landscape or cityscape shooting. It's a great travel lens where the chances of something getting lost/stolen/broken become higher and almost specifically designed for those me-in-front-of-a-famous-landmark shots.
Stop the kit down to the f/8-f/16 aperture range, put it on a tripod, and maybe get a filter or two, shoot RAW and post-process, and amazing things can happen (e.g., this image). f/8 and post-processing are great equalizers among glass.
For portraiture, it may not give you creamy dreamy bokeh or work well in low light, but learn off-camera lighting, stop the lens down to f/8, and you might be surprised what can happen.
A Place to Start
My basic recommendation would be to take a class or read a book on basic photography technique so you aren't intimidated into using full Auto, but can make decisions about the effects you can achieve with your camera. If you learn well from books, Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure for exposure technique, and his Learning to See Creatively for basic composition are a good place to start.