My advice would be to start small by just cutting up some 2x8 or so and practice centering the face plate, making the blank round on the lathe, cutting a tenon for the chuck, reversing the blank and cutting the inside of a bowl. This will give you a good feel for how the tools cut, how your attachments work, and what a tearout or catch feels like. The more you work with your tools the more comfortable you'll start to feel with how to approach the lathe and use the tools.
Practice, practice, practice. Good luck and post pictures of your work!
I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.