I'm the rhythm guitarist in my band, As Empires Burn.
Covers are definitely a good start, it will help you become more comfortable with playing music with others, and eventually it will be about 10 times easier to write original pieces.
When you're rehearsing songs, almost always try to pretend you're on stage. It will help you with stage fright help your performance together.
When it comes to recording, don't make the mistake my band did... BE PATIENT! We recorded our EP after 2 months of performing together, and we rushed through the recording process. Make sure you all know your parts as well as you possibly can, and can make time to do the same part over... and over... and over... Not to mention the whole process can be expensive.
In whatever scene you are wanting to get into, make as many connections as possible. It's a popularity contest. A friendly one, but you still want to be well known in your scene. Make friends with other bands, and they can introduce you to others who are in the same business, who could know another guy, who introduces you to this guy, ... you get it. lol.
That's all I've got for the time being lol