These two issues are what most people struggle with as they learn - so you're definitely not alone. Tool technique comes through practice and by watching/learning from others where possible. As for the sharpening, your tool shape is not as significant as your actual tool sharpness. While a lot of people fuss over which angle cuts best, micro-bevels or not, steep vs. shallow bevels, the real secret is learning one style/shape inside and out while making sure your tool is extra sharp. I say "extra sharp" because most people try to make their tools last longer than they should, either because they don't like to sharpen or they find sharpening hard. A good jig system should make sharpening repeatable and consistent, freeing you up to focus on cutting technique.
My advice to my new turning students is to sharpen more than you think you need - basically just touching up the edge frequently rather than waiting until the tool edge gets dull.
When you are a lot more experienced you will be able to change tool geometries as you experiment with different grinds/shapes etc. For now, stay somewhere in the middle of what is considered standard, and just become comfortable with the tools. This will really pay off in the long run.
"Keep those shavings flying!"