These days, there is no need to hire a studio to help you create the next big hit: your bedroom will do. Here is a brief but helpful guide for beginners who are interested in dabbling in music production, recording and songwriting.
DO invest in some decent equipment. You will need a laptop or computer, a microphone, a pair of headphones and preferably a MIDI Keyboard too. These will be your essential pieces of hardware. Alternatively, if you don't have the money and don't intend on recording anything, just a computer and a pair of headphones will do to start off with.
DO use a respectable DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, i.e. music making software). A DAW is to a modern songwriter what a sheet of paper and a pen are to a classic composer. GarageBand will be fine to start off with and for rough ideas: if you are using Windows, Bitwig is a relatively reputable free DAW (and is also available for Mac). If you have the money, Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Protools and Reason are the DAW's used by the pros. Later on down the line you will want to consider investing in one of these as they have a lot more to offer than GarageBand or Bitwig.
DO watch tutorials online. Youtube is jam-packed with helpful and in-depth tutorials for all DAW's which tackle any problem you might face. Watching these videos will drastically profit your workflow and will help you improve rapidly.
DO browse the internet for freebies. Be it free samples, loops, audio effects or virtual synthesizers, everyone loves free stuff. Visit pages such as Cymatics or simply type in what you are looking for - you are sure to find free alternatives to just about anything sample or sound-related.
DO ask friends and family for feedback. Generally, feedback is always good for any sort of work, but it is especially important when it comes to music. The more sets of ears, the better. After listening to the same thing over and over again, you will be missing out on key mistakes due to habit and possibly overlooking the obvious. Ask friends or family to tell you what they think of your creation, and if you have any musician or producer friends, ask them what they think of the mix. They can let you know if a certain element is too loud, too quiet and other nerdy things.
DON'T force yourself to make music. Remember, you are doing this because you enjoy it. There is absolutely no point in making music if you don't feel like it. The moment you view your hobby as work, give yourself a break. Time off writing music is just as important as the time you spend actually being productive. Go outside. Go for a walk. Meet up with friends. This will help inspire you take your mind off those chords that aren't quite right yet.
DON'T use earphones, or your computer speakers. This is important from a mixing point of view, since laptop speakers, for example, don't offer much of a stereo image, while Apple earphones don't give you a flat frequency response, meaning they boost certain aspects of your song to make them sound better, when in reality, they might sound terrible. A reliable pair of headphones is definitely a must if you want your mix to sound good. Later on you might want to purchase a pair of studio monitors, but these are costly and not absolutely necessary.
DON'T publish your very first songs online, even if you are proud of them; it is likely that objectively, they aren't very good and that later on, you will regret posting them. At the beginning, you will be developing so fast and learning so much in such a short amount of time, that you'll soon realise your 'banger' from the previous week wasn't actually all that great.
DON'T spend too much money on equipment, samples, loops or plugins (virtual effects and synths) if you are just starting out. You might find that you never use what you bought and that it was a waste of money. As you gain experience and do more research, you will know when the time has come to invest in something that you think will take your music production to the next level. Always start off with a small amount of tools, and as you get better, build on what you've got. You don't want to jump into the deep end too early.
And finally, DON'T be too hard on yourself. It takes years of work to get good at something, and you might not be getting the results you wanted immediately. In fact, there is a well-known theory supported by Ed Sheeran that suggests it takes ten-thousand hours to truly master an art. Don't let this bring you down, though! As the Luxembourgish saying goes: 'Et ass nach keen Meeschter vum Himmel gefall' ('masters don't fall from the sky'). In other words (and this does sound cheesy), practice makes perfect!