For an aspiring lucid dreamer, the amount of techniques, tutorials and acronyms is enough to confuse. It's too easy to make basic mistakes which can slow your progress. Reading this should help you avoid these common mistakes, and leave you with some beginner tips and pointers as well.
Get an overview of the lucid dreaming techniques and acronyms
Read up on the basic technique tutorials and get a general idea of how to do them and which ones you want to try. You can find tutorials here on Mortal Mist, and there are many other sites with tutorials as well. Many of them teach the very same techniques. The lucid dreaming acronyms are useful to know, as they are often used in tutorials and forum discussions.
Train your dream recall and keep a dream journal
Regardless of whatever techniques you want to use, always start by keeping a dream journal and training your dream recall. Dream journaling helps your dream recall, gets you familiar with what your dreams are usually like, and it helps you keep your focus and intent. Decent dream recall is vital; you should be able to remember at least a dream a night before attempting lucid dreaming. There is no point in having lucid dreams if you can't remember them!
Only try a couple techniques at the same time!
This is a common mistake. Many aspiring lucid dreamers try as many techniques as possible at the same time to increase their chances of having their first lucid dream. They only accomplish the opposite. It's very easy to lose track and focus when you are trying several techniques at the same time. Yes, some can be combined, but only try a couple of techniques at the same time at the most.
Give each technique sufficient time before abandoning it
This is another common mistake. It's easy to want to give up and try something else when the technique you are trying hasn't produced a lucid dream after a few attempts. You should give each technique at least a week before you try something else. The reason is that it can take that long until your subconscious is catching on, and maybe even longer. Once you have decided what technique(s) to try, stick with it! This leads to the next lesson...
Especially in the beginning, before you have had your first lucid dream, be sure to dedicate some time every day to your lucid dreaming training. If you are going through a stressful time and you can't take the time to practice regularly, then this might not be the right time for you to start lucid dreaming.
Warning! Results may vary
Before you ask—no one can tell you how long it will take until you have your first lucid dream. For some it's enough to hear that it's possible to be aware that you are dreaming, and they will have their first lucid dream the following night. Some have even had lucid dreams naturally for as long as they can remember. Others might try for months before they have their first lucid dream. Factors like your level of dream recall, motivation and how much time you spend on lucid dreaming training can influence this. The truth is that it just takes longer for some people while others have them easily. It's the same with techniques. Not all of them work for everybody, and there is no “given” way to have a lucid dream. This also means that you should take the tutorials and techniques as a general guide. You are free to make individual changes as you try them and find out what seems to work better for you. Proficient lucid dreamers have often done just this, adding personal touches to techniques that they use to fit their individuality.
Don't start with the WILD technique
Unless you are very proficient at meditation, WILD (Wake Initiated Lucid Dreaming) is not a good beginner technique. It's considered the most difficult induction technique, and with very good reason. Wait until you have had some success with lucid dreaming, then try it. WILD might be hard to pull off in the beginning, but is a very efficient technique once you master it..
Need motivation? Join a community!
And what a coincidence, we have a friendly, experienced and active community right here! If you feel lost and alone on your path to lucidity, you might just need some encouraging words and a nudge in the right direction. Joining a lucid dreaming community will provide you with that, and you can discuss lucid dreaming and ask experienced lucid dreamers for advice. You also get the opportunity to meet like-minded dreamers.