I had similar feelings when I first saw a Tablet PC, even though I had read as much as I could about it. I think, like many machine, you probably want to start with what you want it to do for you. Set up your email, install Office apps type of thing, like you would with a regular laptop. Then, explore the Tablet features such as a the handwriting and voice recognition features. The SP2 update on the OS made the handwriting recognition extremely easy to use. All Tablet PC comes with some sort of tutorial on this. When running the Tablet Edition OS, your MS Journal app, Word and other applicaitons have handwriting plug-ins. This allows you to write in your own handwriting as if you were writing on a piece of paper with a pen, the Tablet will translate your handwriting into digital text or save it as is.
Voice regconition. app works much better with the OS update. You will need to go through a 10-15 minute voice training to get the max results. You can't talk too fast. But if you speak clearly and enunciate the words, the machine should have no problem recognizing your voice.