1. Study your basics. Head on over to newbie central and read as much as you can! There is some good, and simple stuff there. Once, done, go out and seek books at your local library or book store that expand on the practice of Witchcraft.
2. The first two on that list can be answered in newbie central. The other two, it is best if you look online for more detailed information, or find a book on these things somewhere in your town, or city.
3. That depends on your path. Most would say that a good visualization exercise and meditation is a wonderful way to start a spell (which is why i always have that at the beginning of all of my spells - or at least most of them).
Any more questions, feel free to ask :)