I make a copy of the pattern first. That way I can always refer back to the original if I need to, plus I can do it again at another time if I want to.
I find the centre of the canvas and start there.
Then I work outward from the centre.
I don't skip over more than 2 stitches because it can get confusing and easy to make a mistake which is hard to correct if you find it late.
I use a yellow highlight marker to cross out the squares on the pattern that I've done. I don't cross each off as I do them, I usually do about 5 or 10 and then go and colour them in. You being new might want to start off colouring every couple until you get the hang of it.
I work using an embrodery hoop so that the canvas stays flat. It's also easier to work with.
Another good idea is to get one of those magnifier things that hang around your neck and it props against your chest or stomach so that you can hold the hoop below it and see what you are doing in a larger scale.
I tend to use 32 count linen for my cross stitch and using that tight of weave is almost like cross stitching on your T-Shirt, so the magnifier really comes in handy.
Another tip is to have good lighting.
Here is the one that I'm currently working on. I'm almost finished. Just have the lower right corner, right border, and upper right corner to do.