I believe one of the most important factors in becoming good at anything is - Motivation. How do you get motivated? How do you stay motivated?
1 - Set your goals
2 - Make a plan on how to reach them
3 - Look at your plan often - let it inspire you to work harder
Learn technique and scales
Learn the fundamentals. Technique, scales and chords, are in a way building blocks of music. Learn them well, because they give you a strong base for creating your own voice on your steel guitar.
Practice your weaknesses. Play the things you find difficult often, and you will get better at playing them. Practice often - try to play a bit every day, and practice different things. For example, you could practice technique for half an hour, take a break and practice scales for another half hour. You get the idea. Don't just learn to play a song.
Timing - Practice with metronome or rdum machine
Timing is everything. You must be able to play the notes with good timing. Make a habit of practicing with a drum machine or metronome, especially when playing scale patterns and such. Get some play-along material you can jam with, or record your own backing tracks. I know most of you don't like to play scales but it is necessary if you want to improve your playing.
Take a few lessons from a teacher with good reputation, and explicitly state to the teacher what you want to achieve. Informing the teacher about your goals and gameplan will make teaching and learning easier and more effective for both parties.
By Hank Ruf