I've created a fire using a fire steel and striker once before, back in the summer when there was a lot of birch bark around, a lot of twigs and branches, and a lot of dry wood. Today i was passing near Epping forest and took a detour to actually try my skills again. I had difficulty finding any birch and due to the combination of rain and snow lately, almost everything was damp and cold. I did find some dead hanging twigs (i only wanted to work on fire starting, not make a full size fire) and a standing dead tree that looked like it was being hollowed out by beetles or somesuch, and had bone dry wood on the inside that was easy to break off. I had a lighter on me, but even using this i had trouble getting anything to do more than smoke a little.
What am i doing wrong? What should i be practicing? ANY advice at all would be helpful. Or if there is anyone about who i could meet up with to see first hand what i'm supposed to be doing. It's all appreciated.