Many do not begin practicing spells until they have explored a particular magical tradition, and learned its various rules, morals, and methods first.
For many, this includes exploring meditation to strength mind and spiritual awareness, examining the chakras to understand the flow of energy through yourself and all things, and similar such steps before a spell is ever cast.
"Your element" is merely that element that you feel most comfortable with. Spells that are of that element are likely along the lines of spiritual healing, divination, cleansing, etc. When you see others claiming vast and fantastic things straight out of Hollywood, they are -usually- full of crap.
Part of the initial discovery is learning for yourself where that line that distinguishes true magic from your own imagination and things that might otherwise be explained rationally is a very big part of these first steps.
Finding your element is simple, yes you realize it on your own, you commune with nature and the elements while on your path, and over time which ever element you feel most connected with or moist comfortable with becomes your element.
In reference to your initial question about spells, my answer would be first to learn, study, and practice the basics of magic. Do so before trying to cast and you may be more successful in the long run, than taking a backwards approach to the craft. These are just a few simple suggestions you may want to consider.
Learn the basics before spell casting, get your meditation down and such. Once you have learned all the basics, you will be able to cast a lot easier and have better results. Remember to always believe in yourself and not to give up because one thing did not go as planned, practice makes perfect. Good spells to start with are:
-Good luck spells
-Increase chance spells
-and other spells that you, yourself thinks you can cast.