Watch the Licks online guitar lesson by Larry Carlton from 335 Blues

Your trick bag is probably already overflowing with licks. I find that any new lick I get under my fingers can turn up in many places in my playing. Each one is like a new word in my vocabulary that I can use in any number of sentences. But I do NOT rely on licks when I am improvising and soloing, far from it.
The blues vocabulary is rich with licks and it's important to have a mastery of that vocabulary when playing the blues, but don't fall into the trap of constructing your solos by simply stringing a series of licks together.
Sometimes a good lick will help tie ideas together and sometimes it'll inspire entirely new ideas. When you play a lick you like, or hear one someone else has played, practice it until it becomes a natural part of your guitar vocabulary.
My approach to soloing is really quite simple - connect with the listener and take him or her on a journey. Every journey starts with a single step, so I like to start my solos in small strides. This not only allows the listener to get involved but it allows me, the player, the time it takes to listen to what I'm playing and think about what should come next.