I have just read a guide written by someone who obviously felt very lost in their quest for spirituality. So I am writting this guide to help them and all others like them who feel lost in the midst of it all.
When you start on the path of witchcraft you are at a crossroads with many paths ahead of you. I cannot tell you which path to choose as this is a very personal decison, but I can tell you that you will get many chances to revisit the cross roads and try other ways if your first choice was innappropriate for you.
So you buy a book off ebay or from a book store and it is full of information. Think about this information, debate it in your mind, question it. This is the only way you will find your true path, as your beleifs come from within. You need to read many books and question them all. Also read books on other faith systems too, such as buhdism and druidism as you may find they spark your interest. (Remember you can sell your books back on ebay to fund the purchase of others if cash is tight or use your local library)
You may want to just dive in and cast spells, I know i sure did!! Most of the comercial spell books are safe to use without any prior knowledge, for example Titania Hardy does a range of exceptional spell books full of safe to create magic. The only thing I would suggest is not casting love magic if you already are infatuated as this will affect your spell. Love spells should only be used in the absence of a love interest to draw to you one who may be suited. It goes against the whole free will thing if you are thinking about someone (even subconciously!!)
There is no set time to start spell casting, some people only ever spell cast and do so along side another religion. So if you are worried that you are not experienced enough then bite the bullet and give it a try. Magic will only have a negative affect if it is sent with a negative force. Its very simple, send out negative and it will cause a negative BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANT you will get a negative back. Its a bit like feedback on ebay really!! So only ever send out good intent, and make sure not to mess with free will, and you will reap the rewards.
This guide is written from an ecclectic point of view and bears no resemblence to more formal sectors of witchcraft such as Gardenerian and Alexandrian covens or British Traditionalist covens as I have no working knowledge of these forms. I have written this based on my own working knowledge which I developed through reading many books and practicing for 9 years.