1. Read all of the related literature. ALL of it. Read it in depth and pay attention to all the details. Follow the tangentially-related references and whatever you do, don’t stop reading until you have learned the complete history and entire current state of the field.
2. Make all of your figures before you write anything. Then continuously remake them. Generate many types of visuals from the same data set. Keep changing them as you find little errors or large mistakes in reasoning. This is the fun part, so give yourself every excuse to keep working on them.