Stick Welding is considered harder than Mig welding mainly because mig welding eliminates the need to constantly feed the electrode to maintain a constant arc length.
Beginner stick welders almost always use too long an arc.
That stick electrode is always getting shorter and that means the arc is always getting longer… unless you feed the electrode into the puddle to maintain the arc length.
I advise people to set the amperage hot enough to be able to keep a tight arc and not stick the rod… and then… keep a tight arc.
for a 7018 1/8″ rod that means about 120-125 amps.
Having enough amperage lets you hold a very tight arc without sticking the rod. The arc force from that amperage helps to flatten out the weld.
Rod angle is important too but just not quite as important as arc length. As long as you dont get carried away with rod angle, a slight drag works best usually, but a dead nuts 90 degree rod angle, or even a slight push angle works, too.