I first heard about lucid dreaming about 6-7 weeks ago and come to this site fairly regularly. I've been keeping a dream journal which now has more than a dozen entries and I've bought a cheap digital watch that I use for reality checking. Last night I had a dream where at one point, a girl I knew from back in school was holding a piece of paper and she wanted to know who it belonged to so she could return it. She let me see this piece of paper, and written on it were a bunch of lucid dreaming related notes that I recognized as being written with my own handwriting.
I even remember seeing "I will remember my dreams" written in upper case and underlined. However, it seems instead of realizing it fully, I stuffed the piece of paper in my pocket and thought nothing more of it. Was I close here?
Rebecca says: Nice job! Your unconscious was giving you a big fat cue to become lucid. Unfortunately we don't always pick up on these cues - especially in the early days of practicing lucid dreaming - and we bypass them.
I've had lots of conversations about lucid dreaming within a normal dream, and still not become lucid. I once also gave an entire lecture on it in my dream! Duh!
The way to can tell is you have a realization; a light bulb moment where your thought process suddenly pings into life. You'll KNOW for sure that you're dreaming and it's not real. At the same moment, as the logic centers of your brain wake up, your vision and tactile senses will kick into life, so everything becomes extremely vivid. You'll suddenly be IN the dream; like going from 2D to 3D. Even in your very first lucid dream, this is easy to recognize and you won't miss it.
So, I'd say you were close... but no cigar. The fact that you could read the writing in the dream is good - your language centers were active, which is much closer to lucidity than a normal dream. Keep practicing, and I'm sure you will have a lucid dream soon.