Study and visualization of an eastern type paradigm of the energy body can aid tremendously in early energy work. development of, and deliberate activation of the Chakra network as a framework for energy movement through the body is an excellent place to start. Learn to focus and feel the flow of energy within and throughout the body, and deliberately clear away any blockages. It helps to think of it as an electric circuit, as all things(energies) have two polarities. A positive, active principle (Yang) as well as a negative, magnetic principle (Yin). A solid foundation for energy work begins with sensing and fostering a balanced exchange between these two energies. A cyclic sort of push/pull, if you will. Learn to utilize that principle and your energy work will become much more intuitive and efficacious.
Google search terms such as Prana, Chi, Qi Gong, Ki, Magnetism, Astral light, Etheric body, to locate a nearly inexhaustible amount of information on the subject. As an alternative, you could study some of the more traditional works, such as those of Dione Fortune, Blavatsky, Rudolph Steiner, Max Heindall.
In my own work, I found it helpful in the beginning to work with psi balls and constructs. Once you have a firm grasp of forming the energies into an orb, work on condensing those energies into a lower vibrational frequency. The better you get at condensing, the more palpable and substantial the energy becomes. If orbs become simple, work with constructs of other shapes and sizes. (An alternative, is to work with changes of your ethereal (auric) body.) There are several forms of manipulation available, really only limited by your own imagination. The key is to will them. Imagination is great to begin with, but you'll reach a point where it becomes only a single element of a more potent process. When you imagine something, you see it in your minds eye. When you WILL something, you see it, feel it, experience it with a wide variety of physical and etheric faculties. The contrast is easy to recognize once you've reached a point of efficacy.
As an additional exercise, you could always work on creating a construct and programming it with specific instructions. Keep it simple at first, and you'll be surprised how effective they can be for a wide variety of situations and circumstances. For instance, you can create a construct with the intention of peace/relaxation, and will that construct into the energy field of a friend or loved one who is easily excitable or agitated. That's just a simple example, but again, it expresses the point sufficiently. It's best if the intention is kept simple at first, centered on a single concept or vibration. Focus on channeling that one thing, to the exclusion of all others as you channel energy into the construct. The stronger your focus and will, the more potent the construct will become.
Direct Energy manipulation can be a difficult practice at first, but with time and persistence becomes the go to standard for all other operations. Proficiency at it allows one to forego a lot of the dogmatic aspects of ritual and spellcraft, even to the point of dispensing with physical tools altogether.
Thoughts are things. Energy follows thought. A focused will is a more potent tool than any amount crystals, incense, incantations, etc. Use it responsibly, with a sense of morality and it will serve you well for a lifetime.
This has become a long winded reply, I apologize. I've only scratched the surface of the subject but I hope that serves sufficiently to help shed some light on a possible series of next steps.