1. Study is important. Period. Familiarize yourself with the cyclical nature of earthly and cosmic energies. Learn to identify and use the ebb and flow of the energies of the moon, the planets, the seasons, etc. There are specific correspondences of each moon phase, of planetary days and hours, and an entire host of other external factors. Think of it in terms of a vast, flowing river. You could throw your intent out there into the current, and just hope that it finds it's way to it's destination. Or, you can study the current, and how it flows, and learn to insert your intent in such a manner that rather than hindering it's realization, the natural currents add momentum, speeding your intent along toward it's own manifestation. That's a very simplistic description of the mechanics, but I'd hope you get the point. The fundamentals are fundamental for a reason. No amount of dabbling will substitute for a commitment to truly studying and understanding the basics.
Bottom line is this, much as it may offend your ego to hear it. If basic principles such as these here have eluded your awareness, then you're not ready to be considering anything approaching what one might call "advanced" magick. No intention of being offensive here, just being honest.
If you really want to progress and grow, then quit dabbling, and start studying. Make yourself a sponge and learn everything you can. Twice. Put in the time and learn to crawl before you walk. It's a long road to begin, but it's more than worth it in the big picture.
You can build your tower as tall, and glorious as the imagination can conceive. It's still going to crumble if you set it atop a weak foundation.