Good to meet you, xargon! I'm the other way round to you. I have always projected from fully conscious via trance (using binaural tones) and somehow just can't manage to do lucid dreaming. When I go to sleep, I go to sleep...and that's it! I can't even remember my ordinary dreams. On the very rare occasions when I have remembered them, they are generally not very interesting.
I hear what you say about not forcing things. Trying too hard is the easiest way to stop successful projection. That's why I use deep trance via relaxation and binaural tones. It works for me, but of course every person is different.