Stolen from the Steel Guitar Forum:
"I started playing at age eleven on a six string Supro (mother-of-plastic finish), and sort of grew with the evolution of the instrument. Because of not having to divide playing with work, I had nothing but time to devote to learning. I spent most of it wearing a white groove in the middle of a black vinyl record learning solos and turnarounds of my favorite players. Although I never learned the theoretical side of music, I developed an ear for intervals.
When I look at the strings on my guitar, I see intervals. I see strings 1 and 2, 1 and 3, or 4 and 5 as whole tones apart. I see major thirds, minor thirds, and see which fret to put the bar for a certain note between those intervals. I see fourths, fifths, sixths, and octaves telling me what string to play when I hear those notes in a melody. To make this work, you must be able to recognize intervals when you hear them.
I put as much emphasis on the mental part of practice as the physical. If you don't keep your mind active in certain areas, it gets rusty. When I haven't practiced in a while and miss strings, it's not only because my lack of use of certain areas of the hands but because my mind has not walked those paths with my hands for a while. Your hands don't have a mind of their own, they only do what your head tells them to do (with the possible exception of steel guitar shows).
Lastly, I see what I call pockets, which are zones where all strings will work within a given chord. Sometimes I jump around, other times I use strings between the pockets to get from one to the other to better complete a musical thought. It's my road atlas for getting me from point A to point B. Once I'm in those zones, my co-pilot is the interval knowledge I have to help keep me from getting lost.
What you must add to everything above is a lot of listening to different kinds of music, but only the kind you enjoy listening to and not just music per se. You'll be so bored and disinterested in listening to music you don't like that you'll be wasting more time than its worth. If you want to learn more about the steel, listen to country music. If you want to find different licks and perhaps cultivate a different style or approach, listen to anything you enjoy outside of country music."