1 - I am not a professional. Aside from a one day pasta class I took at a specialty market in Westlake, advice from Tony the butcher in Palm Beach Gardens, and the current cake decorating class, I have no real training. I do read cookbooks, watch Food Network, and subscribe to several cooking magazines (its a bit of an obsession). I learn a lot from these resources and test a lot in the kitchen. That being said, the stuff here isn't fool-proof. Its just what does and doesn't work for me.
2 - Its not perfect. That is a lesson I continue to work on. I am truly my own worst critic. Not everything works, some stuff is better than others, some stuff just isn't good at all. I will write about it all. I am learning to embrace the messes and try new things. I use to get really down on myself, until I realized, this is what I am doing for fun. If it doesn't work, throw it away, and move on (taking notes on what went wrong). The worst that could happen is you wasted a little time on a recipe and don't have much to show for it except a "loaf" of bread that looks that a pancake.
3 - It won't always look like the picture. First off, Food Photography is a career. People are paid to cast the right light, and have the perfect backdrop before a picture is taken for a cookbook or magazine. Sometimes the food looks as pretty and perfect as the cookbook, sometimes it doesn't, and while presentation is big - especially in restaurants, I am at home. I prefer to present the food at a nicely set table on pretty platters. As pointed out in #2, I try not to stress over it. If it looks pretty to me, then I am fine with it. Jim's mom put it best when I was talking about how my stuff never looks like the Martha Stewart pictures that "It would if you had a staff of 100 people putting it all together for you."