I think your first projects look great!
Being a beginner myself, I can certainly vouch for having sharp tools at hand. Another thing that really helps with removing tool marks is to not make them to begin with, which I found takes a lot of patience and not trying to take too much material off at once. I still find myself trying to rush myself through a project instead of being a little more patient and taking smaller, slower cuts. The end result is well worth the extra time and patience as your piece will look much better once you start to sand it down.
My encouragement is that the more I turn and the more comfortable I get with my lathe, tools, and technique the easier and more enjoyable it become to make something. Like everyone on here says, practice makes perfect!
I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.