ok with MMAW (manual metal arc welding) you drag the stick along the work. you hold the electrode 0-10-20-30 degrees off the vertical, depending on the electrode (some need to be perpendicular to the work for full shield coverage). as you know to start the arc you need to strike the work then pull away. when you are welding you will notice that there is a white glow surrounding the electrode. to have a good weld you need to keep the electrode close to the work. i use the glow to judge the distance, if you keep around 1mm wider then the electrode then you will be nice and close to the work without touching it. if the glow gets bigger you are too far away, this will result in lots of spatter and a poor weld.
also when setting up the welder get a block and strike an arc on it, the sound should be a clear crisp crackling sound (not dull and muffled) the weld should be of nice roundness (not as if its been laid on the metal, but melted to it)
here are the examples of welds.