I would look at the grain first. Divide the area in 4ths. Begin -with the grain -quarter first. I would utilize a set of playing cards to determine which direction to make the cuts before making a cut. With a cross grain cut, I would ease up on the cut and not complete it. Then go back and complete the cut with the correct angle. This can take the pressure off of chipping out. Never make a first cut backed up to an already cut area. It is a weak area and can lead to chip out. I am fairly new and have chipped out several times. I do it less by using the set of cards to determine the wood grain. Glue comes in handy for me right now! Always keep a sharp knife and consistent angle. I strop my knives every 20 minutes of use.
I am not an expert by any means. I watch the videos on this site many times. Wood grain is my biggest challenge. Being left handed and watching right handed videos is also challenging. The biggest thing that has helped me visually learn are mirroring the videos and the deck of cards! I encourage you to watch the video.