chinese characters' pronunciation is according to pinyin. so you can speak first and remember the letters how to pronounce.(it's close to the english letters ,it's easy. and about the tone, you just take it like a tone to a song)
about writing characters, every word is come from the life show. so don't be nervous cause it's so different from your culture. you can read a picture evern a story from each part of it. (at the first of the character learning , you write or to draw like a simple picture.) till you keep them in mind.
learn language i frefer to the 'baby way', listen and speake as much as you can at first, and learn the word when you have some knowledge about simple sentence and the usual way peaple how to express their feeling .
try to use it as much as you can like your own language. so, if you are not in china, to make some chinese friends who around you would also be good.
hope it's help :)