To reiterate, the goal here is to learn the sound of the letters, and eventually some words, rather than translating dots and dashes in our head.
So don’t bother learning the dots and dashes for each letter!!
I know, that sounds counterintuitive, but if you are thinking of the dots and dashes it will only slow you down. We want to hear the sound ‘didah’ and automatically think of the letter A. Hearing ‘didah’ should be the same as hearing someone saying ‘ay’. Hearing the sound ‘dahdit’ should be the same as someone saying ‘enn’, with an immediate image of the letter N in our heads. Hearing the letters faster in CW (20-25 wpm) will actually make this process easier as it’s very hard to translate dots and dashes at this speed. Here is an excellent article on this, written by the late Nancy Kott (WZ8C).
Practice every day, 10-15 minute sessions to begin with. It is the quality of the sessions, and daily consistency, that will help the most, not the length of the sessions.
Give yourself permission to be bad at this, even terrible, in the beginning. However, don’t give yourself permission to let that stop you from practicing every day. It WILL get better/easier the more you practice.
Go to the Online Morse Code Trainer. Fill in your personalization info. It should remember this for every session.
Set the speed to 25, but the Farnsworth to 15. That will make the letters send at full speed, but the space between letters and words will be longer. I found this to be very helpful in learning the sound of each letter. Eventually, we’ll increase the Farnsworth up to 25 as well.
Pick the session, then go through each segment until you’re confident in your read.
Then fire up your radio or whatever you are using for CW practice sending. I’m using my KX3 transceiver but have set the power level to Zero. If your radio cannot set its power to Zero, like my IC-7200, connect your antenna out to a dummy load. Then practice sending at 20-25 wpm until you’re comfortable with that week’s session.