I think Davy's point was that buying an expensive reference book isn't really going to address any of the problems you mentioned here. You need to go slow. Find one simple fly and master it. Say a soft hackle. That fly is fairly easy to tie and the materials are cheap. You won't feel bad about throwing away the disasters. Over the course of a few days, tie up a dozen soft hackles on a relatively large hook. If you're not happy with the results, tie up another dozen. When you get comfortable with the pattern, tie up a dozen more on a smaller hook. Pretty soon you'll be able to tie up 2 or 3 in a row that look ... well ... damned good. Your thread control will get better. You'll get comfortable working with dubbing. You'll understand proportion and what happens if it goes bad. You'll learn how to tie in hackle, make a thread head and learn to use a whip finisher. None of this will happen after the first fly and you still won't be a master tier after 30 or 40 flies. But you will have an incredibly better understanding of the craft. Once you get comfortable with one pattern, pick another. Say a hare's ear nymph or woolly bugger. You'll find that 75% of the skills you picked up with the first pattern will carry over directly to the next pattern. Tie up a dozen. Tie up 2 dozen. Keep going. Every pattern has its own little idiosyncrasies, but once you learn some basic techniques, dealing with the details becomes a lot easier. Owning the Benchside Reference won't give you those basic skills. Someone mentioned Morris, et al's 'Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple.' That book gives an excellent progression of patterns that let you build up that basic set of skills. Get comfortable with each pattern before moving on to the next. If you do that, when you get to the end, you'll be a competent fly tier. Might take all winter, but if you really want to learn to tie, that's not too much time.