Writer's Market puts out an excellent line of books on writing and getting published. You can look at them at your library, figure out which one is best for you. (they have novel and short stories, magazines, non-fiction, etc)
As for the fear, why not post something here, ask for positive feedback, only. EVERYONE has had that fear, so everyone understands. After a few pieces, you could ask for feedback, but request that people be gentle with you.
You could also send a piece to the letters section of a local newspaper (or to their poetry corner, if that's more your style), just to see it in print, and get over the fear. And if it's having your neighbors, friends, kids friends, etc see you, just pick a pen name. I did!
Now please, this forum is eerily quiet. Post SOMETHING!