There are no dumb questions, we're all here to learn about WordPress and help each other :) So to hopefully answer some of your queries:
* By default, a new post or page that you write will be published immediately when you click the Publish button. Alternatively, you can schedule when it should be published by first clicking the Edit hyperlink (located alongside the text "Publish immediately"), specifying a date and time, and then clicking Publish. If you don't want to publish immediately, you can click Save instead and your post or page will be saved as a draft so you can edit it later. These drafts will not be displayed on your site until you publish them.
* To make a link clickable in a post (or page), first ensure you are in Visual mode where you are writing in the WordPress Admin panel. Then select the text that you want to make into a hyperlink and click the Insert/edit link button (it looks like a chain). In the dialog box that appears, specify the URL of the link, whether you want the link to open in the same browser window or a new one, and the pop-up title to display when a user hovers their mouse over the link.
* Emoticons by default are automatically displayed as pictures in posts, pages, and comments. To double-check this (or switch off this behaviour), in WordPress Admin panel, select Settings - Writing and ensure the Convert emoticons checkbox is selected in the Formatting section.
Hope that helps.