Timm-oh matey, John Long wrote the Bible on trad climbing basics, "Climbing Anchors" I think it's called. Josh has my copy at the moment, but it's super clear, humourous and very easy to learn from.
Good trad beginner areas....well Daedunsan has a few ridge routes that are mixed trad and bolts, which helps out with safety...the grades are moderate on Friendship, New Millenium and Rescue Ridges (5.9-10b) and even when you don't need to place gear, it's a great practice thing to put lots of it in when you can, then have someone following (and with experience) assess the placements. Running it out on easy ground, though fun and fast, deprives you at times of safe
gear placing practice sessions....you don't want to be learning/ trusting to it when hanging/ sketching on a mono-doit 80feet off the deck!
Drop a few grades at least initially, and just play around seeing what works and what systems you can develop. Nuts are usually easy to place (like cams) when you have good bottleneck cracks
, but on flaring or parallel cracks, it can be mighty hard to get anything you'd hang a hat on! Hexes, though old school can cam and are a cheap alt to cams in many situations, but cams are the easiest and fastest to place.
In all cases, be sure to try and point the trad gear cable/ draw in the expected direction of pull, should you fall on it.
Make sure it has a soft draw/ sling and won't be pulled about by rope drag as you climb past it etc.
Learn what finger sizes of a crack mean it terms of your cams/ nuts to speed up selection (colour coded gear can help this; "thin fingers = blue cam, 2 fingers = yellow hex/ green cam" etc etc)
Lastly, it's just lots of climbing (bummer eh?) and taking things slow at first. I'll see what trad is down your way and post suggestions.