WILD, Wake Initiated Lucid Dream, encompasses any method where consciousness is maintained while falling asleep. There are many methods in practice to accomplish this feat.
Many people find WILDing to be very challenging. Practicing WILD in conjunction with WBTB (Wake Back To Bed) dramatically increases many people's success rate. All WBTB means is that you wake up and stay awake long enough to get fully conscious, perhaps five or ten minutes, engaging in some activity to rouse the mind a bit. As you return to sleep, the idea is to maintain awareness through the process.
One way of doing this is to focus on the Hypnogogic Imagery (HI) that begins after you start dozing. These images will often begin with flashing lights or patterns, and will gradually develop into full three-dimensional objects and ultimately a dreamscape. It can be quite challenging to maintain focus on your HI without losing consciousness; what often happens is that you will drift a bit and then suddenly remember what you are doing, which will yank you right out of it. Then you need to start over. Once you get to the point of being aware of a complete dreamscape, you need to let yourself be drawn into it delicately so as not to disturb it. When done right, you'll find yourself in your dream and fully aware! The transition is generally the most difficult part. Try reaching out and touching something in the landscape you become aware of, or just looking for your hands, and try not to startle yourself awake.
Another common method is to use counting or a mnemonic repetition as you drift to sleep, focusing intently on whatever you are doing and otherwise allowing your body to fall asleep. You will likely feel and possibly even hear some odd things happening as you do this. These experiences are entirely normal, but we aren't usually aware of them happening. Some experience vibrations or an electric tingly sensation, and others experience a feeling of sinking or floating. There is often a distinct shift in the way your body will feel, at which point you should try to do a Reality Check. The Reality Checks are critical with this technique, as you will often find yourself fully asleep and fully conscious, laying right where you were in the same setting. If you find you are dreaming, get up and begin enjoying it!
There is a lot of talk about Sleep Paralysis (SP), Old Hag and other sometimes frightening experiences that might be encountered while maintaining consciousness through the phases of physically falling asleep. Remember that we all experience sleep paralysis every time we go to sleep—we just aren't usually aware of it. The Old Hag is the sense of a presence near you or even restraining you. This is really just a combination of sleep paralysis and hypnogogic sounds, though it can be quite disturbing if you are unaware of what is happening. Just remain aware of what you are doing and that SP is normal and natural and you have nothing to worry about. Quite the contrary—once you reach this stage, you are almost there!
If these short tutorials have been helpful to you, please consider registering here at Mortal Mist and reporting your successes in the "Lucid Dreaming Experiences" forum. You might even consider starting your own Dream Journal (DJ) here so others can enjoy and benefit from your experiences.