With clean, I can't really hear how my tone sounds, so I turn the gain up to 10, where it sounds awful unless I play really well (tone-wise). But then, I can't hear all my mistakes that get picked up with clean, so my playing will get sloppier. And then I put the gain on 5 thinking that's a compromise but then, neither gets fully focussed on properly so I'm not achieving much at all. Is there a way around this or do I just learn one first and then the other? I don't want bad habits to start that way though
you can play clean and fix the tone up with EQ.. gain just makes the tone scratchier, play cleanly and you can hear what you play better.
adjust your bass treble and mids, what kind of amp you have?
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from what you have said it seems like you are confusing "tone" with something different...
care to clarify?
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Do both.
Alternate playing clean and distorted. When you get it down playing it clean, change your settings to however you want it to sound and practice more.
I don't understand your questions, but when figuring out your tone, play on whichever channel you want to fix its tone. I'll assume you're not happy with your dist. tone, so play around while the distortion's on.
Also, don't turn the gain all the way. Put it at, like, 9 or 9.5 if you wanna have the edgiest sound.

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Gain at 10 just sounds horrible. On anything, really. There's usually no need to put the gain past... oh, 8 at THE VER MOST. Honestly.