Have you tried doing contact prints first? It can help you get efficient at part of the process, and therefore make the rest much easier.
And one hint, pick a standard, mid-range developing time for your paper and developer combination and stick with it!
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Is there any place to get a hands on seminar or tutoring? If you were closer I'd be more than happy to give you some lessons in my DR(or yours). Keep studying the books and looking at other peoples prints and especially, ask lotsa questions here.
BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"
Orange Coast College down the street in Costa Mesa, CA has darkroom classes; in fact, sometimes they open their View Camera class. they are one of the few community colleges that hasn't shut down their darkroom labs.