Keeping your language light and entertaining … celebrating the visual value of everything around your characters … being clear concise and compelling … staying in the reader’s head rather than your own …
These are some of the most important skills for a writer to cultivate. If everything you write isn’t constantly improving in these categories you’re easing into a rut–and away from any dedicated readers.
The most effective way to constantly improve your skills? Report.
Become your readers’ extra eyes and notice everything going on in your characters’ lives and intentions. Like a good reporter you should leave all the verbal underbrush and fluff to writers who don’t know this technique.
You already know you’re supposed to show and tell and avoid injecting yourself into the narrative (Hunter S. Thompson’s “Gonzo journalism” was a terrific style but only for Hunter S. Thompson). So do it! Report!
Notice and pass along what sings to you; slash and burn anything that doesn’t. Write like a reporter because reporters will only keep their jobs if they keep getting better and honing their reporting skills. That’s a good example for you to follow.