I taught myself how to cook at an early age. My dad was really into it and I always wanted to impress him with ideas when I would visit him.
And I just carried it with me through the years. It's mostly trial and error. Try to make things you know you like, don't start with recipes for foods that are unfamiliar to you and make sure you have good tools to work with.
It's my opinion that an experienced cook can work with low-quality cookware but a novice will find pitfall after pitfall while using them. Spend the money up front to save the frustration later on. There are a ton of websites that list the must-haves for a "good" kitchen.
And if you mess it up, it's not a big deal. You'll learn what not to do as you go along. It sometimes takes several tries to get something just the way you like it. Turning it into a game can also work out in your favor. Things like using the least amount of utensils and prep dishes or cutting your prep time down each time you make the recipe can make it a lot more fun.