Thanks! So the first area is the practice area im assuming. Is it better to use the trick of getting the insight fast and then being able to level up in this area while acclimitazing to the enemies? Thats when I just get to the first boss and die, right? Or finding the item in the sewers?
Or is the leveling that can be done on this part minimal? I like to level/improve characters and I have no problem farming things if its more beneficial.
Honestly, there is no "right" answer but I think if you learn to play without the leveling advantage it can be beneficial as it allows you to be more comfortable and familiar with fighter stronger enemies. It also allows you to spend your echoes on other things such as blood vials if you want and when you're out of things to buy it allows you to play with reckless abandon, to practice and take risks and learn the limits of your current character.
Some things such as the timing of your dodge, the distance of it, the speed of your weapon doesn't really change. These things becoming second nature is more important than leveling. That said, if you do struggle to the point of frustration run for the insight and don't let others tell you how to play but for now and from what I've read from your posts it seems you might prefer to test and poke your way through until you hit some walls.
While your patience hasn't worn thing yet, consider testing your gun and getting some parry practice in. Otherwise, a shot will stop a small dog but probably won't kill it.
If you tell us your weapon maybe someone can give you more specific tips.